8 Projects Kids Can Do to Alleviate Lockdown Boredom
Turn your time together into fun, interactive projects that prioritize learning and keep kids engaged.
The coronavirus pandemic has spread like wildfire across many parts of the world. Millions of people are taking precautions and curbing social interaction, per government directives. Unfortunately, that means we're all stuck inside for the foreseeable future.
Any parent knows home schooling and Netflix only go so far when you've got a house full of bored children. Rather than focus on the negative, turn your time together into fun, interactive DIY projects that will help shrink your to-do list and keep your kids engaged.
Before you begin, remember to teach your kids the cardinal rules of DIY projects:
- Wear eye protection
- Tie up loose hair
- Wear closed-toe shoes
- Clean up after each work period
- When using a saw, always use a clamp or vise to prevent accidents
In order of difficulty, easiest to hardest, here are eight at-home projects you can do with your kids to alleviate boredom during the lockdown:
Fix Squeaky Hinges
Your youngster can learn to make short work of quieting a squeaky door hinge. Work with your child to locate the noisemaker. Then give them a can of WD-40 and show them how to carefully spray the hinge. If you think your little ones are up to the task, let them remove and replace cabinet doors for additional jobs.
Pro Tip: Olive oil and petroleum jelly work well here, too. Just make sure you have a drop cloth below to catch errant drips and drops. The benefit to petroleum jelly is that it won't run.
Silence Creaky Wood Floors
Doors aren't the only things in your home that creak. Wood floors begin to squeak typically due to the boards rubbing against each other or the sub-floor. But you don't have to live with the noise. In less than 10 minutes, you and your child can silence it by sprinkling talcum powder, soapstone powder or powdered graphite in the gaps between the boards in the squeaky area.
Pro Tip: Throw down an old towel or cloth and walk on it to work the powder into the boards. If that doesn't solve your problem, check out these other tips for fixing squeaky floors from below.
Start Your Seed Garden
Gardening can be rewarding and educational for children. One simple and inexpensive way to teach them about gardening is to start seeds. Have the kids read the planting instructions, plant and then tend to the seeds and seedlings as they grow.
Pro Tip: For those located in cooler climates where planting outdoors isn't an option, you can start seeds sooner with these indoor seed-starting tips.
Tighten Up Loose Drawer/Cabinet Hardware
Tightening cabinet and drawer hardware is one of the easiest and fastest home repair tasks you can teach your child when they're young. For a real challenge, let them take off the old pulls and install new ones! All they need is a screwdriver and guidance from you after you've read these easy tips to successful cabinet hardware installation.
Pro Tip: Those tiny hands can be a big help when your dexterity fails you. Plus, the old "lefty-loosey, righty-tighty" trick will stick with them for life as they grow older and tackle bigger jobs.
Start a bunch of roofing nails in a stump and let your young DIYers go to town. The kids will keep hammering until every last nail is flush. With their big heads and short shanks (the roofing nails, not the kids), they’re easy to hit and hard to bend. And the end grain of a stump is easy to penetrate.
Pro Tip: Be careful not to go too fast or be too directive in this task. A hammer is a large, heavy tool that, if used improperly, can lead to painful lessons. Let your kids handle the hammer and the nails (gently, of course!) and get comfortable with them before you begin.
Dismantle and Reassemble Common Items
Taking apart a broken gadget like a fan, toaster or skateboard is great for young minds and fingers. Kids get to unscrew things, learn how something is put together and have fun. It's a great way to encourage mechanically-inclined children and pique any budding STEM scholars.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have anything broken lying around, you can buy small appliances or pieces of equipment cheaply at yard sales or thrift stores. Look for older versions as newer appliances are mostly snap-together plastic.
Build a Bird Feeder
Teaching a child about nature is one of the greatest lessons an adult can provide. There are several simple DIY ways to make a homemade bird feeder even if you're missing some of the crucial materials (i.e., wood, saw, screws, etc.).
Pro Tip: A good way to continue the learning and encourage excitement about your new bird feeder is to have your child take notes on the birds it attracts to your backyard, then search online together for interesting facts about them.
Build a Kid-Friendly Workbench
This is perhaps a bigger project. But if you're planning for an extended stay at home, this is one that will serve you and your kids well for years to come. A few 2x4s, 1x4s and some pegboard is all you need. Get the plans, cutting list and materials list for our kid-friendly workbench.
Pro Tip: Position this new workbench as the beginning of your child's new hobby. Your kids should realize that they now have a designated place to build things, and that with difficult projects comes big responsibilities.