There’s nothing more invigorating than letting my ten year old daughter rip down a few boards with the circular saw and watching her nail them all together with my framing nailer. Before you start dialing the child abuse hotline, just so you know, I’m only kidding. But I do love letting my daughter help me with all sorts of DIY projects. Here are a few kid friendly DIY projects that you and your youngsters can enjoy together, without having to take a trip to the ER after it’s all said and done.
Whether you have trees or not, building your kids a tree fort is a long time summer favorite that takes me back to the good old days when my father and I built a fort in our yard. Simple tree forts can be made from all sorts of materials and don’t need to cost you an arm or a leg to create. One of the coolest forts I ever had cost us nothing. We used a little left over contractor’s plastic, some duct tape and an old fan to create a blow up fort that I played with all summer until the sun finally started to rip the plastic to shreds. A little creativity, some slightly used building materials and you and your kid just might have one of the best summers ever when you build a fort together in your yard.
On my last decoupage project, I turned an old crappy desk anew by applying decoupage using some old blueprints and watered down wood glue. My kid loved getting her hands dirty in the gluey mess and smearing on wet pieces of paper. While this messy task is best done outdoors in your workshop, it’s a safe and easy to use DIY project that can be used in so many different ways, you’re sure to find something exciting to decoupage in your kid’s bedroom. From desks to tables to toys to lamps, kid friendly DIY projects like these are small enough to do in a day and easy enough for little and big hands alike to master.
This one’s a no brainer. But before you break out the brushes and rollers, consider this: Use a paint product that’s has no or low VOC’s to prevent your kids from having to breathe toxic fumes. This way, they won’t forget their ABC’s once they reach high school. Milk paint is a great example and you can even mix your own paint together with the kids.
Stencils work especially well for younger kids who want to create works of art but can barely hold a paintbrush with two hands. For older kids, consider buying a variety of acrylic paints of various colors. Nothing beats the pride and joy of letting your child decorate his or her room with their own spiffy wall mural.
Wildlife Nesting Boxes
From a simple birdhouse to a huge bat house, creating a wooden nesting box is a simple yet fun task that all kids big and small can enjoy. A few simple boards, a little glue and some colorful paint and you’ve just spent a whole afternoon with your soon-to-leave-the-nest youngsters. What really makes these projects great is that they can be enjoyed year after year when wildlife comes to make these places their home.
Gardening can be a fun job for kids, but all of that planting, tilling and weeding can overwhelm little ones. That’s why window box plantings are such a good kid friendly DIY project. A few flower bulbs, herbs or annuals can be the perfect way to spend an afternoon outdoors with your children. It’s even fun to put together a simple window box with the kids. Attach the planter to their bedroom window for the ultimate DIY kid friendly fun all summer long.
Garden Stepping Stones
With a little sack-crete, some vibrant paint and maybe a few seashells or colorful stones, you and your kid can create your own one-of-a-kind stepping stones for the yard or garden. All you need is a good form for the stepping stone. Pizza pans, hat boxes and other round containers work great for creating simple rounded pavers. Or build a wooden form any shape you like and pour as many unique stepping stones as you can stand. Mix your mud, pour it into the mold and let your kids decorate the finished surface with whatever their little heart’s desire.
For even more kid-friendly projects and some fantastic tips and inspiration, check out the great site BuiltByKids.com