When a pipe leaks or a door
sticks, some people grab their toolbox. Others grab their phone and call a pro.
For that second type of person, home ownership is frustrating and expensive.
And I don't want my daughter to become one of them. So whenever there's a fix-it
job around our house, I get her involved. With her "help," jobs take twice as
long, and I know her 7-year-old brain probably won't retain the how-to
But teaching her exactly how
to do things isn't my goal. What I want her to learn is this: DIY isn't just expertise
and experience. It's 90 percent attitude, a willingness to give it a try and
figure it out. With a little guidance—from sources like this web site—you can
fix almost anything. That's the lesson.
She doesn't know she's
getting a lesson, of course. She just thinks it's big fun. Here's some of the
fun we've had:
- Snaking out a plugged
toilet. A dreaded job for most of us, but she loved it (see drawing) and is
looking forward to the next plug-up.
- Soldering copper pipe. Some
lessons, like letting a 7-year-old handle a torch, can only take place when
Mommy isn't home.
- A simple plywood box with
a hinged lid, hasp and padlock. I cut the parts; she screwed them together.
It's crude and ugly, but she thinks it's high art and loves locking up her
- Changing car oil.
Spills, greasy hand prints, lots of cleanup. We will not be trying this one
again for a few years.
More DIY tips and projects to do with kids:
DIY tips for kids
A bookcase you can build
with a junior helper
How to Fix a Clogged Toilet
I've had my 2.5 yr old help with various jobs - change oil in lawnmower, change air filters, remove battery from motorcycle, shovel deck, fill birdfeeders, and even painting. His favorite is anything that involves the drill, and he is 'incharge of all light bulb changes' (it is so funny watching him march to where we need to do something and repeatedly tell me "We're doing work.")
When I was 11, more than a few decades ago, my dad gave me a toolbox with solid but child-sized tools. My mom, in hopes of my not continuing to be a tomboy, gave me a string of pearls. Still have the little used pearls, but the tools have long been replaced by adult sized ones and added to. Now I've begun to teach my little granddaughter ( somewhat to her mom's dismay) how to handle simple
tools. What fun! She can already apply spackle, bit of messy
at 3 years old but has the idea. Also hammers ok, knows how to sand, and learning to saw.
Fun for all
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