Kid Projects


This is an info post with only a little bit of query. Please skip if you have no kids or no desire to input on teaching them.
I've posted a few bits on Charlotte (14YO) and our various renovations. Summary as it's been a while is no child of *mine* will ever be helpless at general tools or home repairs. I was raised by a mother who 'flips houses' (didnt have that term then) and use us 3 kids were the main workforce.
The last project I mentioned was either her toybox or her closet. Both went well and look lovely. Her skills now include basic painting, basic sanding of wood before sealing then painting, adding cloth covers to wood, and quite a bit of general 'stuff'.
Charlotte is about ready for 'finishing furniture 101' that involves use of wood stain as she has not done that. She picked the item herself. In other threads I mentioned the wood 'box' Don made for raising the portable AC in the sunroom.
This weekend, we go to the local Lowes. I plan to let *her* interface with the salesman and figure out what stain and possible other things she needs. She needs to learn this or like so many, the first time she hits a project she doesnt know, she will hide and then get scared and pay lots for a contractor. (Hint, her being a 'she' has nothing to do with this so those with kids, may want to consider some of the skills you are teaching if you have not? I think it's this little stuff we dont think about that counts in the end).
Task 1: Find the salesman (I will not help but this is easy as she's a pretty bold kid)
Task 2: Tell him it's a bare wood box with interior use (she should do fine here but if she gets exterior stuff, it will be fine). I expect her to tell the size of the project.
Task 3: Ask what safety stuff she needs to know when using the stain - I expect her to be listing that she has goggles and gloves and forget to say she has access to a resperator but in this small case should not be needed. I expect the salesman to not ask if she has any allergies which she doesnt.
Task 4: Go look at colors and find a *reasonable match* Then select a product.
Task 5: Select brushes or some other application method of the stain suitable. (this is a danger point, she's apt to just get the stain).
Task 6: Come back to me with the stuff (grin).
Hehe this one should be fun. Mom sent me on a trip not too far off from it when I was about 9 but I knew more on such by then and Mom was right there. This time, I plan to be '/mom away' and looking over kitchen knobs (or something) with my cell phone in hand 'just in case'. I suspect she'll have fun. And if she decides a suitable color is blue, it's just a box we made in 5 mins and a blue stained box can be cool!
The only query is if you folks trying to teach real life skills, see anything I missed? I do know I didnt presurvey and put a budget constraint but that $ portion she kinda knows since I've been teaching her grocery shopping skills since she was 8 (something side mentionable that if you havent taught your boys this, is a good thing to fix!).
Anticipation: She will come back with a suitable color to the room or just something fun, with less than 10$ in materials, and forget to get a brush. She will get a larger container of stain than needed and have some other idea in mind for the rest. Mom will dig up a brush or sponge and take that out of her allowance (but add back in buying a bit of something to make it up once she has the idea).
Cost to me: Minimal Value in education: estronomical
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Only thing I'd change is the store. Lowes is a crap shoot with sales people that have any knowledge. A local real paint store may be a better experience.
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If you haven't already, have her make a tool and material list for the project. She could also write down the steps needed to begin and complete the project. Also teach her to make drawings as part of the planning process. It is easier to make changes on paper before the project begins.
As Edwin suggested a paint store might be a better place to start. The competency of a box store employee is a crap shoot. Some may be knowledgeable and willing to work with a child whereas others will be clueless. I would also suggest going to the store during an off peak time when contractors are not around and it is not busy with homeowners.
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I forgot to mention here, making a work list and doing a diagram was taught with these (diagram for the wood toy box/seat).

True! She'll have a list of what she thinks she needs, but is apt to not refer to it. Drawings this time not related as she's just staining a bare wood box that is already built.

Yes, saw that. But this time, I want her to work within normal constraints for a small project. I use the local Lowes often and the paint guys are good, at least enough for this project. Now Home Depot here? Not so good.
Charlotte added that she wants to bring the box with her. It's not but a 1'x1' square with no top or bottom made of 1"x6" decking wood (raw lumber, not PT or anything special). It's small and light enough to do so easily.
I think she'll do ok. Last time with the toy box, she was the one to catch the wood dept guys with her drawing and I just sat back and watched while she selected the wood parts. She's normally with us when we go and let to wander on her own to look at stuff if we are looking at something not so interesting like insulation (grin).
Lately she's been wandering off and looking at the wallpaper selections. A delayed project is to redo the kitchen so she's looking over patterns and jotting down the numbers of ones she likes. Next after that, she's going to measure the room and see how much we need (while I teach her about 'repeat patterns' and where it will be needing more depending on the pattern). The wallpaper guy (Greg) knows her by name now and is in on it. Kinda brightens his day when slow and she stays out of the way when he's busy.
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Just came back from the Lowes. Here's how this part went.

No problem at all. She walked up to one there and politely waited til he finished with his customer and he smiled at the kid with a bare wood block and a cart with some basic tools. About 15 mins later she had some wood primer, and a few things added to her list to get, as well as a nice set of 2 stains. One is a lightish oak, and the other is an antiquing blue you put over that with a sponge once dry. She has small cans of all she needs and there will be enough left for other 'projects' she is plotting.

Obviously done. She had it with her.

He asked her the safety stuff before she got to mention it but she had some gloves in the cart already and a new set of goggles (one vented, one not) for school in there so she said she just showed it to him. He helped her pick out the right sponges for the antiquing.

Yup.
Hehehe unless she plans to put the undercoat and first stain on with sponges, she forgot the brushes. Actually, she's got a whole pack of sponges so that's very workable.

Yup, and some other stuff leapt in her cart.
So who forgot something? Me! The motion sensor replacement for the exterior light! ARGH!
More on what Don did in a few.
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cshenk wrote:

me that much! :^)
(Not a flame, mind you- it is nice to see a caring parent, even if, IMHO, they are thinking about it all way too much.)
In my case, it was stand there and hold tools and supplies while household repairs and projects were going on, then 'hold this', then 'see how I did that?', then 'You finish it up', then 'would you go get the tools and fix that?', to 'here is twenty bucks (a lot back then) and the car keys- I want it done by Monday.'
No kids of my own, but since our father was 800 miles away by the time my kid sisters got big enough to hold tools, I did go out of my way to expose them to basic household/auto repair concepts, and how to do some things themselves. Helpless Females aren't allowed in my family. It was going pretty good till they discovered boys, then they got dumb real fast. Happily, in adulthood, the early lessons seem to have bubbled back to the top.
-- aem sends...
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;-) It does sound wierd don't it? Dont worry, she doesnt realize I do that with some projects.

;-)
Close to that for me too. By Charlotte's age, I was tackling odd projects that none on us knew how to do, using books from the library and info from various store folks.

Hahahaha! Happens that way! I am not good with cars but can do some basic things. My husband though worked at the 'self help' garage at the Sasebo base for 4 years and can do many things.
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