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Mentoring A Child DIYer Provides More Value Than Just The Savings


How Young Is Too Young?

I remember when I bought my first home, okay, condo. Things would go wrong, various home essentials would break or stop working, and yet it was too expensive for this young 23 year old to hire expensive contractors to help. With a little bit of innovation and a lot of logic, I began taking on these projects myself long before the term DIY became popular. It got me thinking about those who may not possess common sense or the gift of logic to figure these things out. How young is too young to get started on learning these skills?

LearningWoodworkingimage credit: James Emery

To be able to do things yourself not only gives saves you a lot of money, but better than that it provides much pride in the process. If we’re teaching our sons how to sort and wash laundry and our daughters how to cook a meal in preparation for going off on their own, why not teach them how to be resourceful in all other areas of their lives as well. Goodbye to Shop Class for boys and Hone Economics for girls. Hello all mini DIYers who follow in our footsteps.

Toolbox2image credit: Wikipedia

There is no greater sense of accomplishment than finding the fix for a broken household necessity when you thought you didn’t even know how. For me it was replacing a regular light switch with a dimmer switch long before YouTube videos were at my disposable. Needless to say, I was quite impressed that I could actually do it. My best asset was a sense of logic, but not everybody has that.

You could try bridging the gap with the increasing number of home improvement apps. Unfortunately, most of the ones I’ve tried are simply repackaged how-to magazine articles. They’re too general, leave out key steps and aren’t adaptable to varied situations.

So how do we begin teaching our youngsters the tricks of the trade? Boys have typically been keen on making models and girls have enjoyed crafting jewelry and accessories so how hard could this be? A great way to start is with a kit, a small box to put together, or maybe even a bookcase with accompanying instructions.

TeachAChildimage credit: Ivg4him

There are tons of them, precut, labeled and numbered, some easy and some hard, for all kinds of items. It might be an elaborate grandfather clock that requires more advanced DIY skills, or a simple bench you can assemble with a child just getting started. A quick look on Amazon for craft kits popped 400 pages of them. Or for techy kids, how about Edmund Scientific for a 3-foot-high model of a trebuchet, gyroscopes, chemistry sets. Then there’s the world of radio control: Build a replica car kit and drive it, a vintage plane kit and fly it.

Something I really got excited about was putting together my own toolbox with the basics, my version of a cool tool belt. When I graduated to marriage and a larger home, I even secured a space in the attic where I used a pegboard to hang all MY tools behind lock and key. It’s amazing how tools can go missing when someone else gets a hold of them. Their uniqueness and usefulness makes for an enticing steal! I like knowing where to find my tools. That’s how important they are to me now.

PegboardToolsimage credit: HowToolsLookLike

My tools got larger as time went on, like an electric screwdriver, a drill, and even a Dremel kit. They have all kinds of little accessories that do great things like sanding, drilling and shaping. You can check them out over at Dremel. Something like this would make for a nice birthday gift for your up and coming DIYer.

Has your youngster or teenager ever built or fixed something that you and they are proud of? Share your stories. Our special thanks to Mike McClintock, Chicago Tribune, whose piece Fun Ways to Teach Kids DIY Skills served as inspiration for this article.

Featured Image Credit:  Christopher Craig


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