7 DIY Projects to Do with the Kids Before They Head Back to School

Welcome to August! Before you know it you'll be sending your little ones back to school. In the meantime, make the most of summer with a few of TOH's Family Projects and teach your kids valuable basic DIY skills-while spending some quality time. As always, supervision and safety are paramount. But This Old House will provide all the know-how you need for a successful project. -Tabitha Sukhai for thisoldhouse.com

1. Build a Backyard Fort

Build a fortBuild a fort
Every kid ought to have a backyard fort! It's the perfect place to let their imaginations run wild. They can create a magical world of knights and dragons or pirates and buried treasure-or just a kid-run kingdom. The design of this fort encourages tons of fun, with a super-cool kid-sized hatch-complete with a peephole to check out visitors-and a flag that kids can design and make themselves. It'll take 3 hours to build, then you can all enjoy the play structure for years to come. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video to build your very own backyard fort.

2. Build a Lemonade Stand
Build a lemonade standBuild a lemonade stand
When the sun is hot and kids are bored, there's nothing better to get them motivated than a project that comes with a built-in reward. This old-fashioned lemonade stand is sure to spark some creative interest, along with a bit of entrepreneurial spirit. Not to mention, it'll help them make a few bucks to help with Back-to-School shopping...or buy a video game. Whichever. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH host Kevin O'Connor) to build a classic lemonade stand.

RELATED: Builder's Math for Kids

3. Build a Bird Feeder
Build a birdfeederBuild a birdfeeder
If you want hours of quiet entertainment, build yourself a bird feeder, fill it with seeds, then watch the feathery fliers swarm. Hang it outside your kitchen or living room window, and enjoy your chirping friends all year long. Especially as the cold months approach, your backyard visitors will be happy to have the free buffet. It's a great way to learn about birds too. A field guide of your region's avian species will help you figure out who's coming to lunch (try The Sibley Guide to Birds). Before you know it, you'll be putting names to the faces of your new friends. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook) to get started.

RELATED: How to Create a Wildlife-Friendly Habitat Garden

4. Start a Vegetable Garden
Build a raised vegetable gardenBuild a raised vegetable garden
This Old House TV landscape contractor Roger Cook recently built a raised garden with a few young friends. It's a simple frame of rot-resistant lumber that holds soil in place and brings it to a height that's easy for everyone to reach without stepping onto precious plants-plus no more dirty knees (or at least fewer dirty knees). And kids will have tons of fun caring for their seedlings as they mature into a healthy harvest that they'll be proud to eat. What better reward is there for a garden well tended than a crisp carrot straight from the earth or a nice ripe tomato right from the vine? Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook) to get started.

RELATED: Garden Gear for Kids

5. Make an Easel
Build an easelBuild an easel
One of the best ways to encourage your children's budding creativity is to give them a place to practice their talents. This sturdy, portable artist's easel is compact but holds colorful paints, brushes, pencils, markers, and more. And since it has two sides, your kids can enjoy drawing and painting with friends and siblings. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH expert Richard Trethewey) to get started.

6. Build Wall Cubbies
Build cubbiesBuild cubbies
It's a sure sign of independence when older kids want to have a say in how their bedroom is decorated. An easy way to satisfy that need is by making these modular wall cubbies, which can be customized to suit children's changing tastes as they grow. You can make just one cubby or stack several. The result may even encourage your kids to tidy up and stay organized in the coming school year. (Crazy talk, we know.)
Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH host Kevin O'Connor) for this project.

RELATED: How to Build a Small Bookcase

7. How to Build a Tree Swing

Make a tree swingMake a tree swing
All kids want to fly, and every time they ride on a swing they get closer to that Peter Pan moment. But you don't need a whole playground to feel the spring breezes swoosh by. All you need is a seat, a rope, and a sturdy tree. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video (featuring TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook) you need to make this old-fashioned rope swing.

More from thisoldhouse.com
How to Create the Ultimate Homework & Study Area
Best Kids' Room Before and Afters
Child Home Safety Tips for Every Parent

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