Keep the Kids Busy this Summer

Posted by Tim Lodge on

Simple Summer DIY Projects to Keep Kids Busy & Entertained

Let’s face it. There will be days when the sun will be searing but there’s no camps or playdates booked. Your house full of kids may be filled with the refrain “We’re SOooo Bored!”.

Here are some simple yet super useful ideas that will keep the children busy whilst keeping them outdoors. Why not enjoy these fun projects as a whole family too?

Getting kids involved in DIY helps them in the following ways:

● Cutting and painting helps with hand eye coordination
● Working numbers when measuring and gauging materials
● Following steps
● Creativity in decorative projects

    Paint with Purpose

    Let go a little and find some easy safe ways for the kids to paint, get creative and help you refresh the place at the same time. No child has ever said no to getting a paintbrush and a real paint can.

    Prepping The Paint Space

    Get them out in the open, and into some old clothes.

    Spread out some drop cloth or old fabric on the backyard or outdoor paving/ balcony away from precious furniture.

    Source some smaller size paint brushes. (you don’t want them to get too much done too quickly or spread it around too far either)

    Proper DIY Paint Jobs

    If you have older kids, get help with some jobs you’re already doing like the garden walls or fencing especially if they’re older kids and bribe them if you have to. Door frames, garden trellises, gates, doors and window frames may also need a touch up.

    Just be sure to get the masking tape on those edges to help the kids avoid any messes

    If you are particular about getting these done the right way then give them smaller projects to do that won’t impact your good work.

    Beginner Projects

    Start them with water-soluble paint if you’re afraid of their ability to get paint on everything including themselves.

    Small items can be brought back to life with a fresh colourful coat. Upcycle the following:

    ● Wooden playroom or nursery furniture in bright colours
    ● Old chairs (non-antiques of course) or occasional tables that need a fresh coat
    ● Old indoor plant pots
    ● Wooden picture frames than can be recycled into a feature for their bedroom

      You could even give them small outdoor projects using weather-proof paint.

      ● Garden gnomes that need a touch up
      ● The family pet’s kennel
      ● Garden benches

         Stencil Art

        You could give them stencils - make them yourselves with cutout cardboard or buy them. Allocate the kids a blank wall outdoors as their designated play area and let them have a go with some spray cans.

        Creating the stencils themselves can be a great way of generating creative activities for them indoors on a rainy day.

        Spray Can Art & Graffiti Party!

        Turn your Stencil home-event into a Wall Art extravaganza.

         Make sure the kids have safety goggles, old clothes and a decent mask on to protect them from the chemicals.

        Let them have a framed area to express themselves with ‘Graffiti” or free wheel a la Jackson Pollock on a set canvas like the back of the shed or a graden wall you’re willing to spare.

        Use a canvas and let them frame their work if it is a small piece.

        Treehouses, Tree Forts & Teepees

        For the more experienced parents with a handy older kid interested in woodworking, consider building your own treehouse, playhouse or tree fort. 

        We found some Free Playhouse Plans to work from right here.

        If you don’t have a suitable tree, a simple playhouse pergola style on the ground or a fort on stilts with some canvas covering, might just do the trick anyway

        Make Your Own Teepee

        The urge to camp outdoors during those summer play dates and sleepovers is strong, so why not get the whole party involved and make your own Teepee! Possibly the most efficient way to shelter for camping nights and a great playhouse in the day.

        You need a sturdy canvas you can cut out - approximately 15 x 30 ft. You’ll also need 12 long wooden l lodge poles (3 feet longer than the covering canvas) that you can smooth down with sandpaper and treat with linseed & turpentine for protection. 

        Make A Fairy Garden

        The little girls (and even boys) might want something on a smaller scale. You could use crafting clay that can be baked, or any leftover materials to create a DIY fairy garden.

        ● Give the kids a patch of the garden that’s their own
         You could use clay baked to create DIY fairy garden installations like a mini house, well, toadstool. With some woodworking smarts and leftover wood, you could create some interesting fairy doors of your own, little bridges or furniture. Recycle old toys as well
        ● Get them to use large smooth pebbles and shells they may have brought back from the beach to create fairy paving stones. Glass pebbles are great for simulating running water or a pond.
        ● The actual fairies and some other accessories can also be sourced in many of the thrifty Euro-stores.
         Try to plant some small flowering plants or miniature shrub species and get the kids involved in the gardening too.

          Make an Insect Hotel, Bird House or Bird Feeder

          For the nature lovers and pollinator friendly gardens, why not build your own insect hotel or bird feeder to encourage the wildlife in your garden to stick around.

          Your bird feeder or DIY birdhouse needs to ideally be suspended high up where cats can’t get at them.

          Facilitating insects like bees and ladybirds could also be good for helping your garden grow healthier and rid your plants of pests naturally.

          Insect Hotel Must-Haves

          What you really need is a sturdy wooden frame you can mount on a garden wall.

          The frame should ideally be at least half a food in depth. It should be filled with natural materials that create negative spaces, nooks and crannies for the insects to crawl into - holes, cracks, Seed pods with holes, decomposing materials, hollow tubes and grids for different types of insects.

          To encourage even more of the pollinators to gather, it's a good idea to plant wildflowers nearby.

          The Wildlife Trust has a great list of instructions in: How to build a bug mansion

          Backyard Mini Golf Anyone

          Include the kids by making them help design the course in the first place.

          Think about any leftover DIY materials or old furniture to recycle? Have you got lots of leftover plywood or pallets left over from a previous project or delivery? Why not recycle the pieces to create ramps, obstacles and putting greens for a mini golf course!

          Source some synthetic grass to cover your ramps and surfaces - perhaps use the off cuts from your own backyard or front yard projects. 

          Make a Time Capsule

          Why not mark a special year or occasion with a time capsule? Let the kids decide on what they would like to share with their future selves.

          For example it is a great idea to mark the advent of primary school or secondary school in the coming September with a summer time capsule containing the memories from their childhood including a note to their future self (A message in a bottle!).

          You‘ll need to build or recycle a wooden box or large glass container. Be sure to label the date clearly inside it. Just don’t forget where you put them and put an alert in your calendars to exhume those amazing memories when it’s a good time.

          Here’s a nice step by step instruction on how to create a time capsule.

          Ready to get those kids busy working?!

          Shopping list

          Stop by our website product catalogue to catch an overview of the supplies and brands available:

          Paint projects

          ● Paint ideally water-soluble paint for indoor projects
          ● Spray can paint in assorted colours
          ● Small paint brushes
          ● Drop cloth or old sheets
          ● Paint trays
          ● Turpentine for cleaning and thinning
          ● Cardboard

            Playhouse & Teepee

            ● Plywood

            ● Nails & Hammer

            ● Canvas or water resistant fabric

            ● Wooden Poles ( For Teepee)

            ● Pocket knife

            ● Sandpaper

            ● Linseed oil

            ● Outdoor paint

            Fairy Garden

            ● Crafting Clay and assorted waterproof paint or acrylic paint
            ● Ornamental pebbles
            ● Leftover plywood or wood cut-offs
            ● Nails & Hammer / super glue
            ● Mini shrubbery, bedding plants

              Mini-Golf Course

              ● Old artificial turf , green carpet or synthetic grass offcuts
              ● PVC piping, Spare tubing
              ● Plywood or MDF, scrap 2″x4″ wood
              ● Saw
              ● Deck screws
              ● Industrial Staples, staple gun
              ● Hammer and nails

                Have you more essential tips to add? Share them

                Have you already started on a family DIY project this summer? Lets us know on the Tim Lodge Facebook and Instagram.


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