Looking for resources for family projects? Find out how to build outdoor family games and other projects with this family educational resource.
This post is sponsored by the Home Depot.
Some of my fondest memories as a child are building, painting, restoring, and “project-ing” – if you will – with my parents and siblings. There’s something about creating with others (not to mention passing down incredible skills to your children) that gets down deep in your soul.
So when the Home Depot asked if I’d like to review and try one of their free family projects on Science Fair Central with my own family, I was thrilled for the opportunity. And let me just start by saying that my own kids (the ones that can talk, that is) told me when we finished that “the project was AWESOME!”
The irony is, I’m not sure I’ve ever worked my kids harder than we did that day: each was given a job, and all three (we let the baby off the hook 😉 ) stuck it out until the very end… and then they played with the outdoor games for hours.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…. Let’s start with the process. So often, I think we as parents think we’ll involve our kids in more things when they’re older. But the truth is, we build family habits as they’re young! And age often brings more busy-ness, making projects together even more challenging. So despite the young ages of our kids – 1, 4, 6, and 8 – we love including them in building projects. If you’d like to do the same, I’d love to offer four things that have helped us be successful:
How to involve your kids in projects at home:
- Make a plan
We plan for vacations, schooling, and social activities… This is no different. Lack of a plan can spell disaster, but with proper forethought, these things can be amazing! Remember that Science Fair Central is a great resource for free plans.
- Assign roles
Giving everyone a specific job helps each person feel important.
- Allow for imperfections
Let go of perfectionism and embrace growth and learning.
- Celebrate the product
They feel so validated when you – as a family – actually use something they have made!
Making a plan for building with kids
We chose a project from the “Parents” section of www.sciencefaircentral.com, a partnership between The Home Depot and Discovery Education. The site has amazing projects and resources for classroom teachers as well as families. Our project: Small Space, Big Fun. Our mission: to build four giant outdoor games that can be packed away in a large tub and brought out in the yard or at the local park.
We began by assigning jobs. The six-year-old was our supply manager: manning the clipboard and keeping track of our shopping list. The four-year-old was the muscle: helping out wherever and whenever she could. The eight-year-old was the artist: measuring, designing, and painting. Truth be told, they all helped with everything throughout the whole project (after 45 minutes with a palm sander, my six-year-old has decided he wants to be the official family sander for all future projects)… but assigning roles helped them feel essential and gave them ownership.
Next step: visiting our local Home Depot for all our supplies. It may or may not have taken us almost two hours (hello, three bathroom trips and 5,483 steps later!), but we seriously had a blast. The aforementioned supply manager was crucial to our efficiency and success. We actually made it home with everything we needed!
Allowing for imperfections when building with kids
Do I believe in involving my kids in projects? Absolutely! But I think that comes with a required realization that a six year old may miss a rough spot or two when sanding 52 blocks.
And a four-year-old may not have the attention to detail that you posses.
And an eight-year-old does not always align the domino dots perfectly.
And that’s ok…
The joy of seeing them work together, work hard, work long, and be SO proud of what they’ve accomplished is totally worth the splotchy paint, misaligned domino dots, and slightly rough Jenga pieces.
Celebrating projects done with your kids
I’ll admit that my life as a blogger is a bit of a strange one. There aren’t many parents who require their children to shower and comb their hair before playing in the backyard. 😉 But despite my extra requests, my kids had SO much fun enjoying the fruit of their labors… even after 8 hours of shopping, building, and cleaning up the project!!!
And while they sometimes roll their eyes when mom brings out the camera, there was not a single hesitation or complaint this night: they were simply overjoyed to play with the games that they had made.
My oldest kept asking if we could have a full-scale double elimination tournament…
And they all came up with idea after idea of new ways to play with each of the things we’d made.
Mom and Dad may have been a little worn out (remember: 8 hours of this, not to mention the meals, baseball practice, and general upkeep of everyday life with four kiddos), but nothing, and I mean nothing compares to the joy on their faces and the love in our hearts.
I admit that it sounds dramatic and cheesy, but I’m being 100% honest: doing projects like this may not be quick or easy, but they are SO worth it. And – for what it’s worth – having the plans ready for you definitely helps with the prep work.
If you’d like to see more about our project, you can check out my IGTV channel for a video! And feel free to pin it for later.
I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program described above (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.