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
Start some screws in a scrap of drywall and let the kids screw them in with a screwdriver or a kid-size cordless screwdriver.
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.