Thrifty Kids

DIY Wooden Sandbox Tutorial: Easy How To Instructions

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by Cassie on July 15, 2014


This has been one of the best projects this year! Hours of sheer fun and entertainment already that it has been more than worth the small effort and more than worth the small expense! So here’s how to build a wooden sandbox that is a nice size for lots of sand play!

Materials and Tools Needed to Build a Sandbox: 



  • Treated wood beams (for longevity against the elements) in 2×12 sizes  (for 1 foot deep boxes pictured above), 16 feet per box, cut in 4 equal foot lengths (cut by lumber yard or at home). If you buy the wood in a 16 foot long beam, and then cut it, it will be cheaper than buying four – 4 foot long beams. Or even two 8-foot long beams.
  • 16 3.5-inch deck screws
  • 32 2 inch screws
  • Power Drill with Screwdriver head bit
  • 4×4 slat of exterior grade plywood that is 3/4 thickness
  • Play Sand – you can buy 50-lb bags at Home Depot and Walmart for $2.50.  You will need at least 10.

How to build a wooden sandbox:


  • On a flat surface, lay the beams out, ends touching the end of the next beam until you have a square.


Drilling the deck screws on the ends of the beams.


  • Then drill 4 deck screws in the side of each end to connect the end of the next beam.  Go all the way around until you have completed the square.


  • Add your plywood bottom.  Set the plywood on top and, using your smaller screws than the deck ones, simply screw the bottom to the beams by screwing down 6-8 screws on each side.



  • Finally, drill small drainage holes for water to escape in several places on the bottom of the plywood, especially making sure to get the corners!


  • Put it in it’s designated place.  You really won’t be able to move it once filled. So make sure it’s in the place you want it.  We have a spot in our raised garden bed that we placed it so our patio or grass were not used!
  • Fill it with the bags of sand and you are done!

The sandbox is finished and tons of fun!!


So much FUN!!  As you can see, this sandbox is nice and roomy and perfect for 2 plus kids and nice sand depth for more enjoyment! 

A couple of notes about a cover for your DIY wooden sandbox.

Covering this sandbox was important to us to keep it clean and dry.  We actually used another 4×4 piece of plywood for the top.  This worked for a time, but water really warps it and it also become very rough to handle with slivers.  Also, it is a very heavy lid top. So you can look at a finished/treated top to slow weathering and prevent the wood from creating slivers and perhaps something lighter to handle easily.

 We are probably going to change the top (not shown in any of the pictures) to using a tarp with grommet holes and tent stakes.  This way it is easy to cover by attaching to the tent stakes and pulling tight to keep cats/rainwater and other things out, but easy and manageable for all to handle.

See more DIY Projects


Alex & Cassie

Free Printable Children’s Vacation Packing List (Save Time and Money: Don’t Forget Anything)

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by Cassie on June 30, 2014


We have the next packing download available for you! Remember, we are working on providing you with tools, along with our tips and resources, to help you be as thrifty as can be – even by not forgetting anything on a trip!

This next one has been very helpful for us when we plan to take a trip! There have been times in the past that I have not been very well planned or prepared and this has caused us to spend more money than needed! I have learned that a little bit of planning prevents a lot of stress, saves times and ultimately saves money!

So this next packing list is a printable list that you can utilize to be able to not forget anything as you prepare to go on a trip or vacation with kids.  They have different needs than us and so we wanted to provide this list for you to help you accommodate your packing plans to make your trip as smooth as possible. .  You don’t want to be stuck having to pay an high price on something simple that you probably had at home.  These nickel and dime trip expenses add up quick!

Of course you can add or exclude anything that you wouldn’t need/want, but the guide is very helpful. Print as many as you need and come back here whenever you need one!

What else do you plan to take on your cruise vacations? 

Download and Print the Free Kids’ Vacation Packing List HERE

See our Travel Section HERE for more budget travel related articles 

See our Travel Pinterest Board


Alex & Cassie

23 Cute and Fun Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids

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by Cassie on June 25, 2014


If you have been reading our site long, you will know that handprints and footprints are some of our most favorite kids’ crafts – we LOVE their sweet little hands and feet in art!

So we wanted to round-up a bunch of ideas for you to enjoy your kids’ little hands and feet too! There are some fantastic ideas, check them out!

23 - Craftulate - ABC Animal Handprints

Learn the ABC’s with Handprint Animals idea @ Craftulate HERE

11 - Meaningful Mama - Handprint Flowers

Handprint Flower Bouquet idea @ Meaningful Mama HERE

13 - A Moms Take - Seasons Handprint Crafts

Seasons of Love Handprint Trees for the Seasons idea @ A Mom’s Take HERE

17 - Aunna James - Handprint Owl

Owl Handprints idea @ Aunna James HERE

24 - Fun Hand Print Art Blog - Monkey on a Vine

Handprint Monkey idea @ Fun Handprint Art Blog HERE

20 - Creative Activities for Kids - Handprint Sun

Handprint Sunshine idea@ Creative Activities for Kids HERE

21 - Country and Victorian Times - Hand and Footprint Love Sign

Love Sign Made with Handprint and Footprints idea @ Country and Victorian Times HERE 

06 - Domestic Superhero - Handpring Flower Painting

Adorable Handprint and Footprint Flowers idea @ Domestic Superhero HERE 

16 - House of Burke - Handprint Fish for Dr

Dr. Seuss Handprint One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish idea @ House of Burke HERE

15 - Sassy Dealz - Handprint Duck

Handprint Duck idea @ Sassy Dealz HERE

02 - Eat Craft Parent - Handprint Keepsake

Handprint with Poem idea @ Eat Craft Parent HERE

14 - Artful Kids - Mud Handprint Cast

Handprint Plaster Casters idea @ Artful Kids HERE

04 - Creative Green Living - Footprint Butterfly Towels

Footprint Butterflies and Bees idea @ Creative Green Living HERE

18 - Sweet and Lovely Crafts - Handprint Peacock

Handprint Peacock idea @ Sweet and Lovely Crafts HERE

19 - Puppy Dog Tails - Handprint Crab

Handprint and Sand Crab idea @ Puppy Dog Tails HERE

05 - The Suburban Mom - Handprint Craft with Poem

Handprint Poem idea @ The Suburban Mom HERE

09 - Sisters Saving Cents - Handprint Itsy Bitsy Spider

Itsy Bitsy Spider Handprint idea @ Sisters Saving Cents HERE

01 - Crafting in the Rain - Handprint Spring Art

Fun Banner Handprint Art Banner idea @ Crafting in the Rain HERE

Seasonal and Holiday Themed Handprint and Footprint Crafts

08 - Meaningful Mama - Handprint Turkey

Handprint Turkey idea @ Meaningful Mama HERE


Handprint Turkey Shirts idea @ The Thrifty Couple HERE 

22 - Handprint Chalkboard Sign

Handprint Patriotic Sign idea @ Memories Composed HERE 


Handprint Flag T-Shirts idea @ The Thrifty Couple HERE 

12 - The Neighborhood Moms - Handprint Leprechaun

Leprechaun Handprint idea @ The Neighborhood Moms HERE 

03 - Domestic Superhero - Handprint Christmas Tree

Handprint Christmas Trees idea @ Domestic Superhero HERE 

See more Craft and DIY Ideas

See our Fun for Kids Pinterest Board


Alex & Cassie

Best Boredom Busters: Bored Bag Game To Solve All Your Kids’ Boredom Ruts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on June 21, 2014


Boredom Busters “Bored” Game is here!

Do you want the best every Boredom Busters solution for your kids, and ultimately you?  I adore my kids, but I can’t entertain So, instead of trying to stick them in front of the television or video games, it is good to find additional activities for them to do!   It is good for kids to have time to be creative – this is some of the best and most beneficial growing experiences for kids – to be forced to cure their boredom by being creative.

I have to remind my kids that it is not a bad thing to be bored, it is the “mother of creativity.”  It’s good for them. But sometimes they just need a little direction or ideas to get the ball rolling!

Well, that is what this post is for! Similar to our bag chores ideas with printables, we have created a Bored Bag Game with printables for you to help you kids find ways to cure their boredom.  In fact, there are 200 ideas that you can put in the bag, plus a bunch of blank ones for you to add any of your own!


Here are some examples of the boredom busters in the bag:

  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Learn some new jokes
  • Make a marble run
  • Create a box car
  • Act out a book
  • Pom Pom Patterns

Now there are the common ones too, like “go read for 30 minutes.” And we even have some of the ones you would call the “sorry” cards that say something like “go pick 30 weeds” or “sweep and outdoor area,” because no game is complete without the sorry cards. :) 


How does this work?

Well, quite simple really.  We have created the cards for you to print and laminate and cut apart, just like the bag chores.  We suggest that you go through the cards before placing them in the bag as some items are only for bigger kids, some for smaller, some you just may simply not like or want your kids to do, or maybe you don’t have on hand or want to buy the supplies needed for other items.  Either way, only include the ones you want for your kids and even add any on the blank cards that would be specific to your family.


The next thing to do is to grab a box and collect the items needed for the activities in the bag.  Many of the items needed cover a few different activities.  Plus you can add some of your own creativity with it!  Many of the items are probably going to be found around your home and most of the rest can be purchased at the dollar store or Walmart.


Then, we’ve also included a short little booklet that gives further instructions/recipes for some of the items that need a quick explanation.

With that, you have your complete Boredom Busters Game that can be used most any time of the year.  Many of the items are for all year, but when the seasons change, just add and take away activities appropriate for that season!


Then, when the kids are “bored,” they draw a card out and they can’t say to you “I don’t want to do that” as it is out of your control, but they are just randomly picking.  So it helps to minimize whining and helps the creative juices flow!

Also, there is a page full of “sorry” cards.  This would work well with extra chores you have around your home, and even better to couple it with the “bag chores” game.  We made a full page of these, but add as many or little as you want to your bored bag game.

As you prepare your Boredom Busters “Bored” Game, here’s a few resources for you with links to further information – this is only a fraction of the ideas, the rest are on the printable instructions:


Nuts and Bolts Play HERE 


Frog Apples Snack Idea HERE


Popsicle Stick Puzzles HERE


How to Make Potato Stamps HERE


How to Make Sidewalk Chalk HERE


How to Make New Crayon Shapes and Colors from Old Crayons HERE


Sidewalk Water Painting HERE

Here’s some links to some YouTube videos for instructions on some of the items:

How to Make Homemade Ice Cream In A Plastic Bag HERE

Solar Oven S’Mores HERE

Now it’s time to share the printables with you so that you can make your own!

<== Download your printable Bag Tag HERE


<== Download your printable Game Pieces HERE


<== Download your printable Blank Game Pieces HERE


<== Download your printable Instructions Sheets HERE


<== Download your printable Shopping List HERE


See more Kids’ Activities HERE

See more Kids’ Pinterest Board HERE

See more Summer Pinterest Board HERE


Alex & Cassie

Fun DIY 4th of July Handprint Flag T-Shirts Craft Idea

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy here.

by Cassie on June 7, 2014


Have I told you lately how much I love our kids’ handprints! They are so precious and awesome from the littlest to the biggest.

The craft projects that include their hands are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE.  I don’t care how cool a craft is, the second my kids’ hands are in it – it will beat all others. :) I just love anything that reminds me how precious and how much of a blessing they are.

So, this is the second year we have made these exact t-shirts for the 4th of July Celebrations! Last year’s shirts are now in their memory bins.  It is so fun to see their growth each year for the fourth and this particular craft is practical as we use to buy matching family Old Navy shirts for the 4th when they were $5. Well, these are cheaper and FAR cuter! Plus I don’t have to stress about getting to Old Navy in time to get the correct colors and sizes for our now large family!

These shirts take me about 30 minutes to make for 5 kids! That is AMAZING for a homemade clothing project times 5!


I also make something similar at Thanksgiving which is fun as it is nearly a half year later and I get another set of adorable hands on clothing! Not to mention, I have made shirts like this for daddy for several years.  He wears them for a while and then they go into the cedar chest.  I will have to share pictures of those for Father’s Day too (so keep watching!).

I buy the supplies at Hobby Lobby each time and each time I have gotten the shirts (of all colors!) on sale! But even if they are not on sale, you can pick up shirts of all colors for $3.49 everyday at Hobby Lobby. But it seems that at least once a month, they are 30% off = $2.44 each shirt!!


Then the fabric paints that wash of skin super easily are $1.29 each – which is not a bad price.  They go on sale too, but not as often. However, you can do what I do (because t-shirt making is a popular sport around here) I will pop into Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon and grab a paint at a time = .77 each.

So… back to this specific project…… you will need:

  • T-shirts ($2.44 – $3.49 each)
  • Foam brushes (.10 – .25 each)
  • Fabric Paint (.77-$1.29 each) in Red, Blue and clear sparkle (or white or both!)
  • Cardboard for the form to put the t-shirt around (free from home)
  • If you want to make stars on the handprints, you could get a foam star stamp for about .25.  We didn’t do that this time, but it’s cute too!


Total cost for me to make 5 t-shirts = $14.27 = $2.85 a shirt….. now you can see why this is one of my favorite projects each year. It is SUPER ADORABLE and it is a VERY NICE PRICE!

Here’s how to make them:


  • Form each t-shirt around a cut piece of cardboard.  I then secure the shirt in the back with tape and pull the sleeves together and tape them down so they aren’t loose and flapping all over.  You want the shirt to be snug and secure so your prints and paints don’t get messed up.
  • Have your kids wash their hands – you don’t want dirty prints!


  • Then simply paint their hand with the foam brushes with the blue paint – it is the left hand you are painting.  You want the paint thick – not like painting a wall.  So, I often feel in spots that look more “bare” with more paint.


  • Then have them relax their hand and let you do the work of placing it exactly where you want it and press the hand down.
  • I will then also press each joint and palm parts, so the paint will “peel” off their hands and onto the t-shirt.
  • You remove their hand, using your other hand to push against the shirt to pull it off their painted hand.  It “sticks” just a tad.  You don’t want smudges and accidental touch of a painted finger or hand anywhere else…. it does NOT come of clothing! It comes off skin super, super easily with a bit of soap and water – but not clothes.  So mistakes will be unforgivable.


Look at that print…isn’t it just the cutest?  It makes me want to grab that child now and plaster them with kisses –

but don’t worry, no kids were harmed during the kisses plastering session,

but for some reason, giggles eek :) 

  • Now don’t think that their hand’s will be free of paint.  I immediately walk them to the bathroom holding their hand up and out of the way so they DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING on the way. :) Have them wash it all up! 
  • Repeat the blue hand step for each child/shirt.


  • Then paint the strips on using the tip of the foam brush.  T-shirts don’t really allow you to make “strokes,” you really just have to “dab” it on as you dab the line across with the brush. You might want to practice on something or an old piece of fabric so you know what to expect with this part – again, mistakes are unforgivable.  I just eye-ball it, which mean’s the stripes are not perfect at all, but fun and rustic.


  • Then set aside to dry before adding stars.  It doesn’t take long to dry.


  • Then, if you want to use white paint too, paint the star stamp with the white paint and add as many stars as you can/want to the blue hand print.
  • Then let that dry (again, not long!).
  • Finally, you can also add a layer of clear sparkle paint to the whole thing…including the white space stripes, which is what we did this year! It is so pretty, the pictures don’t do justice for the festive sparkles! They shine in the sun and they shine in the light of the fireworks, so our kids were happy to add these to the shirts this year!



  • Your adorable, kid kissed t-shirts are ready for their celebratory debut for the Fourth of July (or whatever you are using them for!).


Happy Birthday America!


We’re ready to celebrate! 


See more Craft and DIY Ideas

See our Fun for Kids Pinterest Board




Alex & Cassie