Tackling Home Improvement Projects With Kids


By Erika Riggs

NEW YORK (Zillow) — It’s summer, which means you need to get stuff done around the house while keeping the kids entertained. But, doing both doesn’t need to be mutually exclusive. As soon as your child is old enough to follow a few simple directions, get him or her involved in home improvement projects.

A Few Things to Keep in Mind:

Working together will teach kids lifelong skills. Start getting them involved from the very beginning of the process by asking their opinions while planning and bringing them along while you shop for supplies — while explaining what you’re buying and why. Ask for their input. From paint color to location of the new garden you’re planting, it will go a long way in keeping them engaged, have ownership and feel connected.

Although age will greatly limit the kind of project your child will be involved in, you can easily teach them the importance of safety around tools. Consider getting them their own safety glasses or kid-sized tools. But despite how helpful your children are, never allow them around any noxious chemicals or other hazardous materials such as asbestos or lead-based paint.

Create Side Projects:

Most kids under the age of 10 won’t be able to build a deck, but they can “build” with a kid hammer and some nails and a scrap piece of wood. Working on their own project alongside you is an easy way to keep your kid feeling involved.

Project Suggestions:

  • Gardening and weeding. Nearly every small child loves to play in the dirt. Help them plant a few seeds, water, or get them to work pulling dandelions. Not only is this a learning opportunity for them, but it’s a foundation for work ethic.
  • Construction projects. While it will depend on your child’s abilities, you may be able to get them to hammer nails for you in your fence or new deck. Start the nail in the wood and hammer it in half way. Your child can come around and do the finishing hammer strokes. Need something sanded? With a little instruction, many elementary school kids can help out with this task.
  • Paint. Have a huge wall that needs to be painted? Set your kid up in old clothes and a roller. Older kids will take satisfaction in seeing the paint cover the wall — especially if it’s their room!
  • Decorating project. Create art work for the living room, a calendar for the kitchen or pick out photos to be framed. Try to involve your kids anytime you make a decorating decision.
  • Ask your kids! Is there something they want to help out with this summer? Perhaps it’s building a bench or hanging new art on their walls. Doing something they’re interested in will keep them engaged from the start.

Need some ideas for your next home improvement project? Check out Zillow’s Dueling Digs for inspiration.

And for more money-saving tips and real estate advice, visit Zillow.com:

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