For many homeowners, summer is the time to tackle a long list of projects that have accumulated over the weeks and months. Additionally, this is the time of year when our homes are at their fullest, with kids home from school. Luckily, there are plenty of projects around the house that can benefit from the aid of your tiniest tenants. Here are some do-it-yourself projects to take on this summer that are kid-friendly and parent approved.
One of the easiest, albeit possibly messiest, projects to allow your little ones to tackle is painting. Be sure to lay plenty of drop cloth, and don’t leave your mini Michelangelo unattended. Many older kids and teenagers will actually be able to do a pretty decent job, while little kids should probably stick to the first coat (you will almost certainly need to come in on the second coat). The important thing to remember when having kiddos help with painting is to have fun. Let them write their names, play tic-tac-toe, etc. Proper technique can be tackled later. If it is their bedroom that is being painted, you can even have your kid(s) plan and paint a mural on one of their walls, giving them the ultimate sense of ownership and creativity.
How many times, over the course of the summer, do you hear yourself saying, or perhaps shouting at your precious progeny to go outside and play? Summer is certainly the time to get kids outside, but an even better time to get them involved in outdoor projects. Having kids help with planting and upkeep of gardens is a great way for them to explore nature, and give them a sense of ownership of their home and greenspace. Flowers like marigolds can be a great project for kids because they grow quickly, making visible changes daily (keeping the interest of tiny minds) and they also attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, which are necessary for the healthy production of gardens and fruit trees/bushes. The added bonus, gardening is a great excuse to get dirty, something that nearly all kids are inclined to do.
One of my mother’s favorite responses to my repetitive whines of, “I’m bored…” was, “well, I have plenty of things that you can clean.” While I, inevitably, became far less bored and far more motivated after her retort, her statement is valid. Summer is a great time to introduce age-appropriate chores that can be continued through the school year. Smaller kiddos can be given tasks like picking up toys, sorting and putting away laundry and making beds. Slightly older kids can help out with dishes, sweeping and vacuuming (once they can be trusted with breakables and outlets). Establishing cleaning routines and expectations is not only helpful to the adults of the household, it also gives kids a sense of accomplishment.
Set up a Study Space
While the dog days of summer are still upon us, the new school year will be here before we know it. And while it is still somewhat uncertain what the upcoming school year will look like, it is still possible to get kids excited for it. Help kids get geared up and prepared for the upcoming year by setting up a work space for themselves to utilize when summer ends. This can be as simple as setting up a desk, or as involved as remodeling an existing space to fit their tiny scholastic needs. Think about the space you have, and how to best utilize it. Plan ahead for organization, providing a space to hang backpacks, store books and supplies, etc. Let your kiddos personalize their space by choosing accessories and arranging the space the way that they like. Giving kids ownership over this space can encourage them to use it. Maybe they will actually do their homework without a battle. One can hope, right?