The Easter holiday is almost upon us and it's a great opportunity for some father/son or father/daughter bonding time over a building project.
It's an even better opportunity to earn some brownie points by keeping the kids occupied for a few hours.
And you will be creating memories that will last a lifetime. Kids don't take much notice of everything we do for them they are oblivious to all those extra hours at work to pay for the family holiday to Fiji.
But they do remember what we do with them and the time you hammered a nail into your thumb making a pair of stilts will become a family folk legend that is retold at the dinner table countless times for years to come.
Not only that, you are helping make your kids useful members of society by doing hands-on projects, kids gain the confidence and know-how to tackle all kinds of "do-it-yourself" tasks.
Here are a few tips to help ensure your Easter project doesn't turn into a DIY disaster:
Older children will feel more involved if they have their own 'tool kit'. It can be quite basic a ruler, a hammer (get a size your child can handle easily), a couple of screwdrivers (a flathead and a Phillips), some nails, sandpaper and safety glasses.
Do some of the prep work ahead of time. You can measure and cut the pieces you will need, get all the equipment set up and find the right nails and screws. Those sorts of tasks can seem boring to smaller children and they will lose interest in the project if they have to stand around watching too much.
Make sure you both wear safety glasses, sensible footwear and take all other safety precautions necessary waiting at A&E on a busy holiday weekend will not be fun and an injury will discourage your budding builder.
Keep the tasks age appropriate smaller children can probably cope with finding five nails the same size. Once kids hit eight they will be able to manage basic tasks such as hammering in nails. By the time they are 12, you can introduce power tools but you will need to supervise their use very closely.
Remember the help/watch rule first the child watches, then they help you, then you help the child and finally you watch the child do the task themselves. But once you hand over control don't move too far away from the action!
Be patient. The idea is to do it together, not do it quickly. They won't learn anything if you don't let them help. If everyone is starting to get a bit grumpy, it's probably time to take a break. Grab a snack and a drink and chill out for half an hour. Or pick the project up again another day, it will go far more smoothly.
Praise their efforts even if the nails aren't going in straight, you can say something like, "I can see you are trying really hard."
DIY projects are great for grandfathers to do with kids too you could buy all the materials and get your child to 'ask grandad to help'.
If you are looking for inspiration, here are some of our favourite building projects to do with kids:
Make a blackboard
Build a pair of stilts
Build a sandpit
Make a pinboard
Build a seesaw
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