OK, hear me out: I know you think it sounds crazy but you really can put your kids to work on your next DIY project, get great results AND even create some wonderful family memories too! Well, alright, the pictures of Baby Jack with a paint brush are a bit of a joke, but once kids are 3 or 4, they really can help you get more work done!
Usually when we’re in the midst of a major renovation project plan A would be to ship the kids to Grammy’s or work while they’re at school. While that may be ideal most of the time, I’ve found big projects are filled with opportunities to create lasting family memories. They may not grow up to be obsessive crafters or decorators or woodworkers but the memories will surely last a lifetime and inspire them throughout their lives.
Now, as promised in this week’s inspiration Fridays title, here are seven (safe enough to share) renovation moments to enjoy with the kids. Remember, be safe!!! Eye protection, respiratory protection for all and unplug the power tools.
1. Layout/lay tile – depending on their age, this can vary from dry fitting 12×12 tiles to more complicated combinations of tile and stone. If your child takes to it quickly you can have them spread the thinset and lay the tile. Plastic spacers make most patterns foolproof.
2. Lay flooring – many manufacturers of flooring offer ‘lock in’ flooring options that do not required nails for proper installation. As with tiling, participation can vary from layouts to actual installation.
3. Hang hooks – the only time I would recommend getting power tool into their hands. Most tool manufacturers make great 12 volt drills that, with proper supervision can be safe and fun for kids. Make sure to include them in the whole process from measuring, marking, predrilling the holes to finally driving the fasteners.
4. Assemble furniture – our favorite ‘some (most) assembly required’ furniture retailer is tailor made for these moments. Even the youngest kids can turn an Allen key and the older kids will love following the directions and leading construction.
5. Painting – obviously easy for all ages(ish).
6. Drywall taping – have the young ones standby with the scissors to cut the tape to length and crease it for the corners. Let them apply a coat of drywall mud if they’re up for the challenge.
7. Create, plan, shop and tool up – on the right projects you can find it fun to include you child in the preparation. Begin with the creativity as together you brainstorm ideas and feasibility. Once a design is decided upon, move along with the planning process, do the math, build a materials list and go shopping. Finally, lay out your supplies from the hardware store and line up the tools required. Explain what each tool and component will do.
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.