Throughout these strange and uncertain world events as of late, I have been collecting links to activities and helpful articles. In my online world, I am always amazed to see amazing humans step out and share their knowledge to try to make these, perhaps uncomfortable, days a bit easier. Life is so much better when we can learn to come together, even in unconventional ways. (Separately, in our own homes. LOL)
In these coming weeks, I would highly encourage you to set yourself up to create positive memories to strengthen your relationships. In times of crisis or upheaval, fear and anxiety really don’t serve us well. Take the necessary precautions, find the happy moments, dream together and tell your family and friends how much you love and appreciate them.
With all that said, here is my list of free indoor activities and ideas that you can enjoy as a family or even virtually with others. Make a list of things you want to accomplish as a family or even some projects on your own.
Activities for Kids:
- 40 Best Indoor Activities for Kids – Busy Toddler
- Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
- Kids cooking classes – $5 Dinners
- 25 Famous Landmarks Made Out of LEGO (you could try to recreate these too!)
- Homemade Marble Run (maybe you have some pool noodles on hand already?)
- Story Pirates Podcast – brings children’s most imaginative stories to life
- But Why Podcast – a podcast for curious kids
- Wow in the World Podcast – another podcast for curious kids
- 25 Day Reading Challenge for Kids
- Edible Play Dough Recipe – Natural Beach Living
- Make a Spy Decoder – Frugal Fun 4 Boys
- 25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to get Kids Moving
- Hello Kids – Drawing tutorials, colouring pages, crafts and more.
- Easy Origami for Kids – Easy Peasy and Fun
- Funniest Knock Knock Jokes for Kids
- Live Art Classes – Deep Space Sparkle
- Seussville – Read, play games, and watch shows with Dr. Seuss
- Storyline Online – Favourite kids books read by famous people
- All Kids Network – Thousands kids crafts, worksheets, coloring pages, printable mazes, dot to dot, hidden pictures and more
- Highlights Kids – Fun games, recipes, crafts and more.
- Stop Motion Kids Camp – Find details on Instagram
- Robert Munsch – Listen to Robert himself read his stories
- Download Free Coloring Books from 113 Museums
- Nomster Chef – Illustrated recipe picture books that get kid chefs excited about cooking
- Novel Effect – A voice driven storytelling app for kids and families
- Sworkit – Kids workouts
- Jigsaw Explorer – Online Jigsaw Puzzles
- 50+ Easy Indoor Activities for Kids – Hello Wonderful
- The Lone Leprechaun – Free Audio Story
- Art for Kids Hub – YouTube drawing videos
- Adventures n Odyssey – 4 week free trial
- Audible – Free stories for kids of all ages!
- Scholastic Learn at Home: Free Resources for School Closures
- Read With Anna – Free live reading lessons for grades 1 – 4
- ABCMouse – Use the code SCHOOL7771 or AOFLUNICEF
- Curio.ca – carefully curated collections that support the K-12 curriculum
- 12 famous museums that offer virtual tours
- Over 30 Virtual Field Trips
- A Principal’s List of Things to Do
- Prodigy – a free educational math website
- Funbrain – Online educational games for kids
- Fluency & Fitness – Helping students exercise their brains and bodies
- National Geographic Kids
- Smithsonian Kids
- Club SciKidz – Daily free science or cooking experiment to do at home
- 123homeschool4me – over 300,000+ FREE worksheets for toddler, preschool, and K-12
- NASA Kids Club
- How Stuff Works
- Discovery #Mindblown app
- PBS Kids
- Crash Course – Educational Youtube videos
- Raz-Kids – The award-winning website where K-5 students go to read — anytime, anywhere!
- Headsprout – Headsprout is the smartest kids’ reading program on the market today.
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens – Free Home Safari each day at 3pm EST.
- Switch Zoo – Play games and learn all about animals
- Starfall Education – Teaches kids how to read
- High school chemistry topics
- Walt Disney Imagineering in a Box – from Khan Academy
- CanFigureIt Geometry – A unique way to teach and learn geometric proofs.
- ClickSchooling – brings you daily recommendations by email for entertaining websites that help kids learn.
- Big History Project – Online history classes for ages preteen through adults
- Breakout EDU – Educational games for grades K-12
- Chrome Music Lab – makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.
- Country Reports – 35,000 pages of online content on the cultures and countries of the world
- Coursera – Tons of free classes from leading universities and colleges
- Curriculum Associates – Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs
- Free Makers Stations – 3 Free Weeks of Maker Stations to keep your children creating at home!
- Dog on a Log Books – Printable board games, activities and more for phonics and reading
- Dreamscape – The most engaging reading game for Grades 2-8, and all for FREE!
- Khan Academy – Online education program for preschoolers through to high school
- Literacy with the Littles – Free Printables for PreK – 2nd Grade
- Next Gen Personal Finance – free resources, games, learning resources, and lesson plans for teaching personal finance
- Elemental Science – 80+ free Science Activities to Entertain your Kids
- Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool
- Free Relief Packs from Have Fun Teaching
Many churches offer a livestream of their service. Try a local church or perhaps something else from around the world for some encouragement.
I’m also noticing many local stores offering free delivery. Take advantage of this and support your local small businesses!
During this time, food may also be at the forefront of many of our thoughts. Here is another list with helpful articles relating to feeding our families:
And because many of you might be finding yourself a work at home parent now, here are some resources for you:
If you have come across some great free activities or helpful links, please let me know and I’ll get them added to the list!
Whether you’ve recently purchased a home or you’ve been living in it for years, you want it to be a space that is not only functional for your family, but also reflects your style. But remodeling your home can be a pricey thing to do. Luckily, there are several strategies you can implement to make sure your home remodel fits your budget and delivers the best return on investment.
It’s tempting to redo every room, but you’re better off focusing on the essentials. Kitchens and bathrooms can be expensive, but they’re also the best bet to ensure you see a return at the time of sale. (If you are selling.) However, if you have any glaring problems (like water stains on the ceiling) or out-of-place extras (like disco-era wallpaper or a stainless-steel counter top in a cottage-style home), deal with them first.
Keep what works.
You may hate the look of your cabinets, but if they are soundly constructed and meet your spatial needs, give them a cheap facelift with a coat of paint or some new fronts and handles to save hundreds of dollars on custom cabinets.
Recycled and reclaimed products (like flooring, cabinets, sinks, and tile) can be purchased for a fraction of the cost, so keep them in use and out of the landfill.
A little hardware goes a long way.
If your house came equipped with copper fittings and the look you crave for your faucets and drawer pulls is brushed nickel, you don’t necessarily have to toss the old ones and start from scratch. For some items, you can try spray-paint made specifically for use on metal. Otherwise, consider a swap. Take your older items (if the condition is good) to a local second hand store like ReStore and see if you can find something you like better. You could always try selling your old hardware to recoup some of the cost of brand new hardware, if you go that route.
Design on a dime.
Any fashion you see in a magazine has a cheap counterpart somewhere in the world, so before you buy a designer brand, look at discount stores and shop around online. You may even find the exact piece you’re wanting for less by checking sites like Craig’s List, eBay or even Facebook Marketplace.
A little common sense can go a long way towards cutting your home remodeling costs, so shop sales, do comparisons, and take time to find the right materials at a better cost. And don’t be afraid to request price-matching or haggle to get the price you want. After all, it is a vendor’s job to get the maximum amount of profit while you are solely responsible for sticking to your bottom line. It is possible to create your dream home for a lot less cash, and capitalize on your resourcefulness when it comes time to sell, if you follow these simple steps for frugal home remodeling.
It’s a brand new year. A time when we all have an excitement for a fresh start. A time when we decide we’re finally going to get our act together. We start out great, but then we tend to get tired over time and go back to our old ways. Getting financial situations back on track rank high on the “fresh start” list.
Below I’ve listed a bunch of ways to make saving your hard earned cash easier!
Set up automatic deposits
Have your bank move a set amount of money automatically into your savings account each month. Whether it be $50 or $500, if you don’t see the money in the first place, you’ll never miss it! And at the end of the year you’ll have a very nice amount in your savings account!
By staying home more often, you’ll save money on gas, impulse buying and even free up precious time for the things you really want to do! Let this be a time when you encourage yourself to learn new skills such as learning to make bread from scratch, or learning to recreate your favourite restaurant meal at home, or even learning simple wood working techniques to build a shelf. Involve your children so they learn the value of being creative.
Put extra money into savings
Did you receive a bonus at work? Or a cash gift from Grandma? Why not put it all, or a portion, into your savings account? Since the money was unexpected in the first place you shouldn’t miss it once it’s safely away in savings. Just resist the urge to spend it right away on something that caught your eye if you’ve got some financial goals you’d like to accomplish.
Once you’ve finished paying a big bill, put that money into savings
Did you just finish paying off a car loan? Pretend you haven’t paid it off yet and put that same amount into savings or onto another debt. Be your own bill collector.
Shop for things you need, not for recreation
Recreational shopping used to get me in lot of trouble. I would shop when I was bored. I’d also wonder why I was never saving money and why I never had time to do the things I really wanted to do, like read a book! Once I stopped treating my boredom with shopping, I discovered the things I really needed to buy were essentials and I discovered ways to occupy myself that made life more meaningful. I stopped cluttering my house up with useless stuff too!
Shop with a “frugal” friend
If you have a tendency to overdo it during your shopping trips. take along a trusted friend that has a more frugal mindset then yourself. Nothing like a sensible person to reign in your personal spending habits!
Have you got any more recommendations on how to painlessly save money? Let me know in the comments below!
This post is mainly to get my own butt in gear regarding food waste, but I think many of you could benefit from it as well! Or at least input some valuable tips for those of us that need some help! 🙂
These days it’s essential to save money on groceries, so here are five tips to make the most of your food and minimize food waste.
5 Ways to Waste Less in the Kitchen
Use what you buy
A very obvious tip, but I too often find produce or other time sensitive ingredients sitting in my fridge on their very last legs. There are some days at the grocery store when I purchase something because it looks good and is on sale. Yes, a spur of the moment purchase, thinking that I can transform it into some tasty meal or snack during the week. The key here, with these purchases, is that I actually have to use the ingredient! So if I don’t have a particular purpose in mind when I buy it, I quite often find it sitting in the fridge rotting away. One way I’d like to help myself with this is to do something with the item right away. Maybe it’s a giant bag of carrots that I could cut up into sticks for easy snacking throughout the week!
Learn to use the ingredients you have
An important factor in my success with using these spur of the moment purchases is learning how to use them. Especially if they’re a bit more unique. I once used a coupon for a free tub of Greek yogurt with the intention of using it in some muffins. But, never having used, or tasted Greek yogurt before, I was unsure if it would be a good replacement for regular plain yogurt. I asked the wonderful people at our Simply Frugal Facebook page how I’d make out if I used it. They convinced me it would be wonderful and even healthier for us! That day, I learned some great tips about a product that was unfamiliar to me.
There are many websites out there that allow you to input an ingredient you have on hand, then generate a meal based on your input! Check out SuperCook.com, All Recipes ingredient search, and Kraft Canada.
Make the most of older food
If some of your produce is starting to show its age, don’t throw it out, simply salvage what you can! This is probably the area I fall the hardest. I have intentions of turning that soft apple into apple sauce, but making it happen is another story. I get lazy 🙁
Here are some suggestions to make the most of older food:
- Cut around the bad parts
- Turn stale bread into croutons or breadcrumbs
- Make apple sauce out of soft apples
- Puree tomatoes into sauce or salsa
- Brown bananas are the best for smoothies or baking
- Old vegetables can be used in soups or stews
- One bad potato in the bag? Weed out the rotten produce so you don’t contaminate the rest of the lot!
Know what you have
Knowing exactly what you have on hand can save you tons in the grocery budget. Make an effort to regularly go through the contents of your fridge and freezer so that nothing slips by unnoticed. Store things in clear containers so you can see the exact contents at a glance. Label your freezer food well. Learning to store your produce properly will also ensure nothing goes to waste before you have a chance to use it!
Use the freezer
By now you might have noticed that I’m a big fan of using our freezer. Here are my favourite ways to fill it up with extra food:
- Freeze any dinner leftovers to make for a super simple meal on a rushed night
- Put all the end bits of vegetables in a freezer bag to make broth once the bag is full
- Take advantage of local, seasonal fruit and stock up, but freeze the majority of it for a taste of summer all year long. Here’s how I freeze peaches if you’re interested!
- Put any extra wine, broth, tomato paste, lemon/lime juice into ice cube trays to add to meals at a later date.
- Freeze extra rice to turn into fried rice
What are your tips to make the most of your groceries and leftover food?
If you are struggling with getting your budget under control, then you’ll want to download this free monthly budget form!
There are spaces to add your income and expenses, a place to record your savings goals (for example, if you are saving up for a vacation, you can write down your progress each month), and a place to write down any notes related to you spending. Having everything on one sheet of paper should be helpful for you!
To get a copy of this free monthly budget form, simply enter your email address below:
(Make sure to check your email inbox to get your link to the form!)
We live a frugal lifestyle. For the most part we are okay with it, and even thrive with this lifestyle, but sometimes it can be exhausting. Sometimes we get tired of making meals from scratch, cutting coupons, price matching, and doing whatever we need to do just to save some money. Sometimes we just want to throw caution to the wind and buy some brand new furniture for our house, or put a vacation on a credit card, or eat out as a family at some local restaurants. In those moments it can be easy to throw our hands up in the air and say “I don’t care” and make careless decisions. But in the end we would regret those decisions. So what should you do in those situations?
1. Treat yourself to something SMALL and AFFORDABLE.
The other day we went out for “Loonie Shakes.” Under 5 dollars for milkshakes for our family, yet it still felt like a splurge for our family.
2. Remind yourself of your goals.
On the inside of my wallet is a piece of paper I taped to it that says “Do you want more stuff, or do you want to travel?” so that every time I open up my wallet to buy something on impulse, I am reminded of my goals.
3. Take a social media break.
Sites like Facebook can heighten our desire to spend our money on things we can’t afford when it may feel like everyone else around us are able to make those purchases at the drop of a dime. But the truth is, you don’t know the back story of the pictures you see on Facebook. You don’t know if they’ve been saving for months or years to make that purchase, or if they are up late at night stressed at how they are going to make payments on their purchases they bought on credit. So give your heart a break and turn off the social media.
4. Do something fun that is free.
Invite some friends over for coffee and board games, go for a nature walk trail, go star gazing, or go for a bike ride. Finding some free fun will remind yourself that life can still be fun on a budget.
Related: 36 Things to Do Instead of Spending Money
5. Browse the internet for inspiration.
Read frugal living blogs. One search on Pinterest will reveal tons of articles written by people who have successfully conquered their financial dreams by living a frugal life. When you are starting to feel like you can’t live frugally anymore you will be able to draw strength, motivation, and inspiration from these articles.
Remember that “this too shall pass.” These feelings of fatigue will end, and if you stick with your budget and your saving goals, you WILL reap the benefits.