One recurring problem all parents deal with — especially on weekends and school breaks — is keeping their children entertained and engaged. (Sound familiar?)

While you can sometimes take your kids and their friends bowling, to the movies, or roller skating, those type of activities are only short-term fixes. Once you’ve expended all the possibilities, you’re back to square one! The ideal scenario is to be able to fill in some of those gaps with fun, recreational activities at home.

If you have a finished basement or are talking about renovating an unfinished area, then that part of the house can provide the space for a dedicated rec room. The cost of finishing a basement can be expensive — with estimates ranging from $10,000 to around $35,000. The final cost would depend on factors like the square footage of your basement, contractor pricing, materials used, and whether you’re willing or able to do any of the work yourself. For growing families with active children, remodeling a basement or buying a house that already has a finished basement could prove to be a priceless resource for years to come!

Setting Up a Game Room

Outfitting a rec room with items like game tables is an additional expense that could have an impact on your budget. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to keep a lid on those costs. One idea would be to spread out those purchases over a period of time. For example, one year you could buy a billiards table; the next year, you could add a ping-pong table, air hockey game, or a foosball table to the room. Many of these items also make excellent birthday or holiday gifts for the kids, so you can potentially include those purchases in your gift-buying budget. With a little online price comparison, you’ll also discover that you don’t have to pay top dollar for any of those game tables. It’s rarely necessary to get the “deluxe” version of a pool table, air hockey game, or foosball table, and there’s a wide range of sizes and prices available — both online and off. You may also stumble upon opportunities to buy used versions of those popular rec room games, and save a lot of money in the process.

Two inexpensive ways to expand the range of activities available in your recreation room (and keep your kids happy) is to stock up on board games and age-appropriate craft supplies. A television with a DVD player, popular channels, and video games is also sure to provide hours of entertainment on rainy days, school holidays, and unstructured weekends. Finished basements can also be a great place to host children’s birthday parties, sleepovers, and club meetings. A TV in the basement can also help maintain family harmony. When the grownups want to watch one program and the kids want to watch something entirely different, you don’t have to draw straws or pull rank!

There are many safety concerns that you probably have when it comes to owning your home. Don’t forget about the safety of your 4 legged friends as well. Below, you’ll find some tips on how to keep pets safe in and around your home the whole year through. 

In The Yard

If possible, keep harmful pesticides away from the yard where your pets play. If you do need to use any kind of pesticides or harsh chemicals, be sure that they are completely dry before pets come back into the yard. There are many natural pesticides that work well on plants and in your garden. An example of this is a simple mixture of cayenne pepper and water sprayed on a vegetable garden. There are many other mixtures that can help you deter pets such as:

  • Garlic
  • Baking soda
  • Cloves
  • Cornmeal
  • Vinegar

Yard Work 

Another thing to worry about in your yard when you have pets is yard equipment. Electric tools, clippers, mowers, even ladders can be a hazard to your pets wandering around outside. 

Designate An Area For Your Pet In The Yard      

You should have a designated area in your yard for your pet to be in, complete with chew toys and more to distract your pet. You’ll also want some sort of an outdoor leash installed to keep your pet in their area while outdoors. Your pet will be less likely to destroy your yard if you take these precautions.  

Make Sense Of Pet Safety With The Seasons


Pet safety will have different tasks to go along with it as the seasons change. During the summer months, you’ll want to be especially careful about your pet’s presence around the pool and pool chemicals. The Fourth Of July brings on concerns about fireworks and firework safety. Halloween candy is especially toxic to pets since there’s a lot of chocolate and candy around the home. If pets eat these items, it can be potentially fatal.  In the summer months, you need to keep your pets cool by providing them with plenty of shade and water. If you need to keep them indoors during times of extreme heat you should do so. Protect pets from the hazards of the Christmas tree by hanging fragile ornaments higher up on the tree and ensure that the tree is secured from being knocked over by a clumsy pet.   

Deter Intruders With A Fence

You can protect your pets from dangers like coyotes and foxes by fencing in the portion of your yard where your pets go. You should also limit the amount of food and water that’s accessible in the yard to predators and other unwelcome pets in the neighborhood. Follow these tips to keep your pets safe in your home the whole year through!

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