Child Labor!

Photo 4

If you’ve ever tried to get a project done with kids in the house, you know just how impossible this is. For the past month, my husband has been getting antsy to clean and stain our deck, and we’ve been trying to find time to do this ugly, messy job together while Amelia is at school, camp, or otherwise entertained. Of course, a surefire way to make a job appealing to a kid is to do it without them.

So after a few days of squeezing in a few minutes of work at a time, it finally dawned on me: Why not let her help?  I’m a firm believer in giving kids real tools and letting them participate whenever possible. We do it all the time with cooking and cleaning, so why not staining?

Sure, stain is messy and, well, it stains.

Old clothes? check!  Bath later? check!

She might be sloppy. But so what? The deck will be rained on, stepped on, spilled on, chalked on, and we’ll redo it in a year or two anyway. We’re not restoring the Sistine Chapel, we’re staining a deck!

Deck staining turned out to be an awesome and productive weekend afternoon together. Amelia was eager to help, and her smaller hands and brush were perfect for painting the MANY posts of the deck railing. Which she did very carefully, and with great pride. Guess what? She’s picked up some useful skills from all these years of crafting projects!


And the best part? It’s done!  Here are a few more ideas for kid-friendly DIY projects around the house.

Looking for more Mess?  Visit Melanie’s blog, or drop by her Etsy store, Made by Mommy.