With the summer holidays upon us once again we are all looking for some different and innovative ways to keep the kids entertained. As parents, we have all experienced the annual laments of boredom from our little darlings, thrusting us into a state of sheer panic and despair at just how we are going to keep them busy for the next six long weeks.
It is not that we are short of ideas; days out, theme parks, bowling, soft play – the list of possibilities is endless. What we are often short of is cash, for all of these activities come at a hefty price. Great for an occasional treat but every day? No way!
As well as bringing with it plenty of (albeit enforced) family time, the summer with its better weather often sees us turning our thoughts to ways in which we can improve our homes. With the sunshine, lighter nights and warmer temperatures summer is the ideal opportunity to spruce up our homes and tackle all of those jobs that we have been putting off since Christmas.
What could be better then than involving the kids in a summer DIY project? They will have fun, and you will reap the benefits of some longed for home improvements.
Of course, there are plenty of factors to take into account when deciding on a project. Kids love painting but are notoriously messy, so perhaps the living room is not an ideal area to target with them. How about sprucing up their playroom or even creating one from scratch. Or you could create a fantastic outdoor space? They will be enthusiastic to see and enjoy the results, and you don’t have to be too precious about their decorating techniques. Good idea? Great, let’s get started.
What are you aiming to achieve?
The first step when undertaking any DIY project is to have a clear image of what you are hoping to achieve. You may well be a fan of keeping up with the latest thing in the property news, drooling over the latest residential developments in far flung, dreamy locations such as Singapore, but realistically you need to work with what you have. Yes, you can still take inspiration from their contemporary ultra modern decor and translate it into something suitable for your two-up two-down family home. You may well aspire to the champagne lifestyles portrayed in the glossy online brochures but take good care to keep costs in check. After all, this is supposed to be a cost effective exercise, so there is no room for extravagance here I am afraid. Also bear in mind that this is their project, not yours. A playroom or crafting area is a much safer bet.
Get stuck in
It is important to involve the children right from the beginning of your project so that you all share similar expectations of budgets, what it is going to involve and also ultimately achieve. By all means, give them some guidance before they start but also some leeway so that they enjoy getting stuck into their project. It goes without saying that the messier they get, the more they will enjoy themselves so prepare both them and the area well for effective damage limitation!
If tackling a play or crafting space, ensure that your little ones understand that whatever they choose to do is what they are going to have to live with for a long time to come. For example, if they want to paint all of the walls black, make sure that they are going to love those walls just as much by the time next summer comes around.
Take it outside
If you are not feeling quite brave enough to let your little darlings loose inside, there is plenty of scope for an outdoor project. This can be a great option during the summer months as not only are they kept occupied but they are also getting plenty of fresh air too. An excellent idea where kids can pretty much be given free rein is to create and develop a vegetable garden. You don’t need masses of space, just a small area will suffice and the only costs involved will be a few packets of seeds and some good old fashioned hard work. They may need a little help from you preparing the ground, but once any preliminary work is complete, they will love planting their seeds and watching them grow over the forthcoming weeks. Why not take them to the garden centre where they can choose exactly what they would like to grow. Perhaps allow them to pick a garden tool each to bring home. They are inexpensive, and kids will love having their own tools to work with.
Again, kids love to get messy and what better way than in the garden covered in soil and mud but, if you are ok with that, this is a great summer pass time especially when they can harvest their first radish or carrot and share it with the family. They will also enjoy watering their plants in the evenings, just expect the occasional water fight!
Once they have produced enough why not involve them in some cooking, there are plenty of fun and nutritious recipes that they will love to prepare using their home grown produce.
Hopefully, your family DIY project has been a great success, and the children have had a whale of a time creating their own individual space in their own unique way! Once complete and the grand clean up has taken place, there should be plenty of the holidays left in which they can enjoy the fruits of their labour leaving you to enjoy some much-needed down-time to admire those home improvements while they are happy exploring their new surroundings.
If they really enjoyed it, there may even be time for a second project? Or maybe leave it until next year. After all, you can all have too much of a good thing!