10 Ways to Make Home Renovation a Fun Family Activity

Whether you're working on turning a new house into a home or redecorating a condo, chances are you can use all the help you can get. And yes, that can absolutely include roping your kids in—not only in an attempt to keep idle hands busy but to help them hone their own artistic eye and DIY skills. "Whether it be picking a color of paint, placing the finishing tile in a new backsplash, or planting a small garden, DIY projects are a great opportunity for kids to put their own personal stamp on your home," says Bailey Carson, home care expert with Angi. "As they watch their creations come to life, they'll take pride in their work and may even want to take on more responsibility as they grow older." Here are 10 ways to involve kids of all ages in your home renovation projects, according to Carson and other experts.

An image of a father and his daughter as they renovate their home.
Photo: Getty Images.
01 of 10

Involve Younger Kids in Smaller Projects

Getting younger children involved can be fun in the short-term and beneficial in the long-run. "Kids love trying new things," explains Jessica Harris, manager of production design at Living Spaces, a national furniture retailer. "And being involved will help them build confidence at an early age and encourage them to be curious."

Carson suggests sticking to little jobs that you can do together while also giving them a chance to take the lead and feel involved. "For example, basic cosmetic upgrades are a great place to start," she notes. "Let your kids help out with painting a small space or nook. While you handle the tricky areas like touching up the trim and edges, give your kids a paint brush for the bigger walls so they can have fun with little room for error."

Or you can try planting a window garden together, says Carson. "For the first round of plants, consider choosing ones that grow easily and require little upkeep like herbs," she explains. "That way, your kids can check in on the progress and take pride in the fruits of their labor. When the plants are ready, the whole family can celebrate with a delicious home-cooked meal."

02 of 10

Offer Direction For Younger Kids Too

Of course, the younger children are, the more direction they'll need. You'll want to offer young children pre-set boundaries to work within, suggests Harris. "Rather than saying 'pick a color,' give them three pre-approved options," she adds.

Then, let them take the reins in even a small way, so they feel actively involved. "If you're deciding between paint colors and have a few samples, let your child be the one to roll it onto the wall," says Harris.

03 of 10

Prioritize Outdoor Projects with Preschoolers

Planning to add a garden or plant new flowers? This presents the perfect opportunity to involve your preschooler in creative ways. "Take them to the park and collect some stones—the flatter the better—and set up an area where they can paint them or draw on them with markers," says Harris. "The colorful stones will be the perfect pop of color for your garden, and it'll allow your child to get creative on a medium that's not the traditional paper they're used to in school or daycare."

Kids will also enjoy mirroring you and working on their own version of your outdoor project. "If space allows, designate an area that can be considered their garden," suggests Harris. "Help them choose which flower seeds to plant and teach them about garden maintenance such as watering." Another plus? "It'll help teach them about why routines are important, which are the building blocks for setting your child up for success in school as well."

04 of 10

Let Elementary School-Aged Kids Clean and Prep

"Kids in elementary school can handle slightly more involved tasks that actually take work off of your plate," explains Carson.

That said, you might offer them projects that involve simple maintenance or clean-up, including raking leaves or even letting them help you paint a room, replace a backsplash, or put up new wallpaper. "Consider creating an assembly line of sorts so that they can help you prep and select different pieces of tile or paper, while you handle the application and talk them through the steps as you go," she notes.

05 of 10

Enhance Your Elementary Schoolers Math Skills

Think of DIY projects as a chance for kids to learn—and bolster their studies—outside of the classroom. "You may be surprised to find how much home improvement projects can help your kids with other skills, like math," notes Carson.

For instance, anytime you have to measure anything, enlist your elementary schooler to help out. "Think of it as an opportunity to teach your kids about conversions, simple equations, and the importance of checking their work," says Carson.

06 of 10

Give Teens a Sense of Ownership

Trusting teens to take responsibility for a project from start to finish—with a bit of supervision—can boost their motivation and investment in a DIY effort, says Andi Morse, founder and principal designer of Morse Design.

Parents can urge them to shop for the supplies needed, set up the work space, and physically do projects like painting or refinishing.

Carson agrees, noting, "Giving teenagers a greater sense of ownership and agency can help with motivation. They can truly take pride in the work and the finished product."

07 of 10

Tile with Your Teen

Because installing new tile requires fine motor skills and attention to detail, it's a project you'll want to work on with a teen.

"Let them do a practice round before starting on the area you want covered so that if they mess up, it doesn't hurt their confidence or leave them fearful of experimenting," suggests Harris.

08 of 10

Build or Refurbish Furniture with Your Adolescent

"As your kids grow older, think of tasks they can complete safely with low-risk tools, like putting together new furniture or even refurbishing old wooden furniture," explains Carson. "With some sanding paper, wood putty, paint, and varnish, they can transform dull desks and chairs into their own creations that they can proudly display to friends and family."

She adds that this project is also great for bonding, suggesting, "Tell them stories about old furniture you restored years ago, or better yet, show it off!"

09 of 10

Decorate with the Whole Family

Setting up a gallery wall filled with heartwarming family photos is something everyone in the house, regardless of age, can help out with, says Harris. "While the younger kids can help pick their favorite photos from a recent family vacation, the big kids can assist in choosing frames and hammering in nails on the wall," she says.

A slightly bigger project that's appropriate for elementary school-aged kids and up: Redecorating a room, says Carson. "Create art together to frame for the walls, enlist their help replacing the hardware on kitchen cabinets, or ask for suggestions on where to put decor and furniture in a room that needs a refresh," she suggests.

10 of 10

Teach Kids the 3 Ts

From the planning phase to the completion stage of a DIY project, you can involve kids, says Carson. She adds that you'll also do well to teach them the 3 Ts: time, tools, and talent, which helps you determine if any project is better suited for a professional.

"If a project is too extensive, or involves dangerous, specialty tools that require training and experience to operate, it's probably time to call in the help of a pro," explains Carson. "If your kids learn from an early age how to evaluate projects of their own, they'll be better set up for success when they become homeowners."

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