Summer is a perfect time to complete those do-it-yourself (DIY) projects you’ve been putting off because the weather is warm and the days are long. Whether you want to spruce up your second home to list as a rental property or repair a broken fence in your own front yard, capitalize on the early energy of the season.
Summertime also means summer break. It means restless, bored kids who want to be entertained, limiting your time to get work done. Instead of putting off DIY projects to spend time with your kids, try including them.
Here are some suggestions for how to keep your kids busy and involved in your projects.
One great way to involve your kids is to let them work on the same tasks you are, just sized down for safety. For example, if you’re building a deck, set your kids up with some scrap wood and a child-sized hammer. Create a kid version of your own projects and give them a goal, i.e., “Put 10 nails into this piece of wood.”
They’ll love feeling involved, just like the grownups, and they’ll stay pre-occupied while you work.
Assign Them a Task
If your child is old enough to use the necessary tools, delegate a small portion of your project to them. Sometimes it can be as easy as having them dust all the picture frames while you build a new shelf for the photographs. The key is to help your child understand how their role contributes to the bigger picture. When you finish the project, make them feel proud for contributing to its success.
Get Them to Paint
If your kids are old enough to use half-size rollers, set them up to paint the middle of a large wall while you tackle the areas that require a ladder or careful detailing, such as the edges and ceiling. Teach them how to dip the roller and spread the paint before letting them loose. Family painting projects run smoothly indoors and outdoors in the summertime. Just make sure your kids are dressed to get messy.
If your child is too young to paint the wall, bring a kid’s painting easel near your painting project and give your child a controlled canvas to participate.
Show Them How to Garden
Gardening is one of the easiest projects to get kids involved in because there are so many small tasks that don’t require close adult supervision. Have them pluck dandelions or other easily identifiable weeds. Once that’s done, set them up with a hand shovel and walk them through the process of digging a hole, planting a seed, and covering it with soil. If you aren’t planting anything new, show your kids how to turn the soil and fertilize the plants.
If you’re considering relocating to a home with a large garden or expanding your current space, you’ll likely spend much of your summer days working in the yard. Think about adding a kids’ corner to the expanded area. Each time you head outside to your garden, your kids can tend to their patch.
Hydrating your garden is really a one-person task unless you have multiple hoses. But, if you can’t leave your children unmonitored in the house, let them do the watering. Set up the hose and hand it over. Or, fill a few watering cans and assign the kids their own sections. Just keep an eye on them and see the satisfaction on their faces.
It’s important to be realistic about which tasks you can and can’t undertake with the kids. Exercise smart judgment about the safety of tasks and buy the necessary safety equipment for yourself and your kids.
At the end of the day, you get the satisfaction of finishing a project and teaching your kids a new, handy lesson. You become a role model of hard work. Plus, allowing your kids to work on their own projects helps them develop a work ethic at a young age, learn how to achieve goals and offer healthy alternatives to watching TV or playing video games.
Need ideas for your next home improvement or design project? Check out Zillow Digs.
About the Author: Satinder Haer writes about real estate, home improvement and interior design for Zillow and other partners.