Next to my husband, my nieces and nephews are my favorite people in the world. Their genuine innocence as they explore their new world brings a joy to me that I am so grateful for. Recently, a handful of my little love bugs came to visit my husband and I in snowy Colorado. Excitement and joyful anticipation filled my heart, until I realized...our house is NOT kid friendly! I might love kids, and hope beyond hope that we will have some one day, but my house is not, I repeat not, ready for them! The closest thing we have to a kid is a Pug, and he is low maintenance when it comes to entertainment and safety...thank goodness!

So..after freaking out to my husband (I call it getting organized, he calls it panic), we put a plan into action.

1. Scour for free toys and furniture. This was our best idea yet! We were able to find a Fisher Price table with 4 chairs, 3 extra child size chairs for the living room, 1 patio child size chair, used children’s books, used toys, a sandbox and kids dinner ware. Even with just these items I felt much more at ease...the kids would be entertained, in a child safe way.

2. Go to the $1 isle at Target. On a $10 dollar budget I bought one 16 count box of Bambi (which happens to be one of our love bugs favorite characters right now) jumbo crayons, a 24 box of regular jumbo crayons, two coloring books, a three part train set , a mat for the train set, a tiger dress up mask, and a big rubber ball. Put all of this in a safe area, in a way that blocks the little ones in, and you have all of the children happy, quarantined from the unsafe parts of the house, and away from you and the other adults having kid free fun!

3. Take your milk, cracker, Kleenex and other boxes once you are finished using them, rinse them out (trust me, this is an essential step), and cover them with cheap ($3 at Big Lots) colored construction paper. TaDa...You have blocks! These go well with the $1 trains from Target also.

4. Using your old magazines, or free advertising magazines that come in the mail, cut out pictures of objects (tress, animals, kid stuff, words, etc.) pick up a bottle of glue ($.69 at Big Lots), and some plain white computer paper from your home office have an art project! They can do this on the free child size table that you get off of and it is a safe (you don’t have to worry about them falling off of adult chairs or ruining your nice furniture) activity!

There are a ton of things I have not listed on here because they are waiting to be discovered. Look around your house, and your $1 sections at your favorite shops…there is a whole world of child friendly activities for your kids or visiting love bugs.