Hit up the hardware store to start your kids on these projects.

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dyed dog leash craft
Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

1. In a well-ventilated space or outside, cover the workspace with plastic or newspaper. Clamp one end of a 7-foot piece of 1/2-inch cotton rope with a binder clip, and string it up to a tree branch or dowel, so your child can paint all around it.

2. Let your child spray the rope with non-aerosol fabric spray paint in his favorite colors. Make sure he wears gloves and old clothes—this paint won't come out! Let dry completely (at least three hours).

3. To create the handle: Bend one end of the rope into a 6-inch-long loop. Use hot glue to attach the end to the body of the rope (an adult's job), then wrap the overlap with leather lace cording; knot to secure.

4. To create the clasp: Thread the end of the rope through a rotatable swivel lobster-clasp clip ($8; amazon.com), and bend back to make a 2-inch loop. Hot-glue the end down (an adult's job), then wrap the overlap completely with leather lace cording; knot to secure.

spoon & sisal snakes
Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

1. Have your child stick two 8-inch strips of colored duct tape (we used two different colors for each snake) onto parchment paper. Using scissors, cut them each into 12 1/2-inch strips.

2. Cut a 42-inch piece of 1/4-inch sisal rope into 3 equal pieces. Gather them together and sandwich a 14-inch piece of floral wire inside the bundle of rope. Peel a strip of duct tape off the parchment paper and wrap it around the middle of the rope and wire, then wrap 2 strips in the other color on either side. Repeat as desired along the whole length of the body.

3. Cut off all but 1/2 inch of the handle of a bamboo spoon. Tuck the end inside the ropes, secure with tacky glue, then wrap with duct tape. Use a marker to draw eyes onto the back of the spoon. Fold a strip of duct tape in half lengthwise, and trim to 1/4-inch wide. Cut a V for the forked tongue, then tape to the inside of the spoon.

4. Secure the snake by wrapping an 8-inch piece of tape around the end of the rope bundle.

cat storage baskets
Credit: Alexandra Grablewski

1. For the smaller basket, start with a 25-foot piece of 1/4-inch jute rope. For the larger one, use a 30-foot piece. To make the base, have your child coil the rope, using tacky glue to hold it together as she goes, into a 4 1/2-inch circle (make it 6 inches for the larger one).

2. Begin gluing the rope on top of the outer ring. Continue building the sides by adding glue every 1 to 2 inches, until the basket is 4 1/2 inches tall (6 inches for the larger one). To make the ears, bend the rope into an ear shape, then hot-glue it to the rope on the layer below and on either side of the ear (an adult's job). Leave a 2-inch space, then repeat for the second ear. Trim the end, glue it down, and let dry.

3. Cut three 4-inch pieces of black embroidery floss, and knot them in the center. Lay the basket on its side, ears up. Glue the knot and whisker ends to the basket, then glue a pink button to the knot.

4. Draw eyes onto 1-inch oval wooden craft shapes with a marker; glue in place. Glue a 12-inch piece of rope to the back bottom edge of the basket for a tail. Let dry completely.

Family Fun