Working on hands-on projects is a great way for parents and kids to spend time together, share skills, and create practical items that can be used for years. But which projects are the best for families to collaborate on?
The Benefits of Sharing Projects
Working on a constructive, useful project can benefit both kids and parents. Not only will there be a completed project in the end, but sharing tasks and ideas along the way will help improve communication and foster teamwork and helpfulness. Children can learn new skills and how to use tools properly, while parents can gain insights into their children’s preferences and interests. Completing a project will give kids self-confidence and feelings of self-sufficiency, and will help teach them the values of recycling, reusing materials, and reducing costs. DIY projects can be budget-friendly, and instill pride of ownership for both parents and children while making memories they can both enjoy.
Top DIY Projects for Kids and Parents
Many different projects are suitable for kids and parents to work on together, depending on what projects are needed, what skills both the parents and children have, and what everyone is interested in creating. Popular options include:
- Painting rooms or trim
- Refinishing furniture
- Updating or decorating a mailbox
- Building a bird house or feeder
- Updating cabinet hardware
- Building a raised garden bed
- Building a bookcase or hanging shelves
- Constructing a treehouse or playhouse
- Building a cornhole set
- Installing garden stepping stones
- Planting solar garden lights
- Creating a ruler wall for height measurements
- Transforming an entertainment center into a play kitchen or lemonade stand
- Assembling prefabricated furniture or furniture kits
These are just a few ideas that parents and kids can work on together; just about any home project can be a collaborative effort.
Best Tasks for Kids
Not all children will be able to work on every task related to different projects, and it is best to give kids useful tasks suited to their age, experience, dexterity, and interest. DIY projects can be a great opportunity to teach children how to use tools properly, and to encourage their interest in learning new skills as well as how to follow through on efforts to complete a full project. Depending on the child’s abilities, good tasks for them to work on include:
- Sanding rough edges
- Taking and recording measurements
- Choosing colors
- Designing overall project styles
- Counting necessary parts
- Sorting hardware
- Handing over needed tools
- Tightening screws
- Sweeping up debris or assisting with cleanup
- Painting delicate edges or fine lines
- Sawing along measured lines
- Reading assembly instructions
Above all, children should always be supervised and guided carefully when working on DIY projects. If a child is interested in trying a new task, they should be encouraged rather than denied the opportunity, which will help keep them engaged in the project and invested in the finished results.
Tips for Working With Kids
It can occasionally be challenging for parents to work with their children on DIY projects, especially if it might be faster or more efficient to complete the work without their help. It is important to work with the children in a positive and encouraging way, however, so they do not lose interest in the project or feel left out of the work. To work with kids more effectively…
- Explain each step calmly and thoroughly, asking if they understand and having them repeat instructions if necessary. If they don’t understand, break the task down into simpler steps so they can more easily learn the process.
- Always use the proper safety equipment and demonstrate correct tool use. Do not cut corners or disregard safety precautions, which could lead to misunderstandings, accidents, or injuries.
- Complete the project one step at a time, explaining the proper order and why it matters so the project will look its best. Allow children to be involved in each step as much as possible.
- Be aware of the child’s attention span and take breaks as needed when they start to lose interest for the time being. Even if the project will take longer to complete, it will be worthwhile to have the child involved throughout the entire process.
Above all, be extremely patient with your child, especially if they make a mistake or don’t initially understand instructions. Losing patience, raising your voice, or dismissing the child from the work will belittle their accomplishments and discourage their interest rather than keep them involved and engaged in what can be a useful, worthwhile endeavor. With patience and perseverance, however, you can your kids can be a fun and productive team to finish many different DIY projects together.