Summer’s almost over. But if the kiddos are still home and you’re out of ideas for keeping them entertained, we’ve got your back. Check out these 5 simple DIY crafts and make some fun family memories in the process.

1. Create a seaside oasis with a homemade sandbox

Even if home is far from the beach, you can bring the shore to you (and let the kids help!) by making your own sandbox. With just a few simple supplies and tools, you can complete this project in less than a day. Then toss in some sand toys and let the little ones play their hearts out. No ocean required.

2. Bond while building a windowsill herb garden

Whether you have a large backyard or just a windowsill, this is a fun and easy project for the whole family. Let your little ones pick which herbs to grow. The idea of beginning with seeds is idealistic, but your kids will be able to harvest the herbs much faster by starting with seedlings. Then have the kids choose the pots the seeds will go in. Depending on how long you want to spend on the project, they could even paint or decorate them beforehand. Once the herbs are planted, top with some potting soil, sprinkle a little water, and enjoy fresh herbs year round.

This project will keep giving occasions for bonding: once the herbs start flourishing, have your children take ownership of keeping the plants nourished and growing. Let them collect and taste the fresh herbs and try the new flavors. Even the pickiest eater may be more enthusiastic about the green stuff in her dinner if it’s something she helped grow.

3. Foster memories AND keep vehicles clean with an at-home car wash

Hot day? No problem! Let the kids revel in some water play while also washing the family car(s). Throw on some swimsuits, grab a few buckets, and squeeze in a little car wash soap. While the water foams, invite your kids to thoroughly rinse down the car with a hose. Next, take some sponges and suds up the vehicle. Use a separate sponge to clean the tires and wheels since they’re much grimier than the rest of the car. Once it’s scrubbed, give a final rinse and then dry with a chamois or a soft terry cloth towel. Then snap a few pics so you and your family can remember how much fun washing the car together can actually be.

4. Make an upcycled bird feeder

Did you know you and your family can create a birdfeeder from just about anything you may have in the recycling bin? Most plastic bottles will work, but a 2-liter bottle is ideal for a simple DIY bird feeder. After digging through your recycling bin to find the best container, thoroughly rinse it out and put on the hanger hook by screwing it into the center of the cap. Have the kids help by hunting around the house or yard for materials to use for perches — sticks or even wooden spoons are perfect. Cut small holes into the bottle and insert the perches. Add birdseed, replace the cap, and hang using twine or fishing wire. Effortless AND entertaining.

To engage your children even more, get a book on local birds to see which ones visit your new feeder.

5. Get the whole family involved with housework

Okay, so it may not be a DIY project, per se. But it’s a good idea to help keep the house neat, especially with kids around! Get them involved with the day-to-day duties. Rock out to some music, make tidying up into a game, and even race against the clock to make cleaning less of a chore. Kids may say they can’t stand cleaning but try including them in these simple jobs. As they get older, add more. The outcome may surprise you.

  • Stripping beds. Kids love tearing sheets off beds. Put that to good use by having them remove all the sheets and pillowcases before washing. Better yet, once they’ve stripped the beds, let them toss the linens in the washing machine and turn it on. Then, later on, you can enlist their help in getting the sheets back on.
  • Dusting. Pass out some feather dusters and see how quickly every surface gets clean. 
  • Mirrors. Let the kids take over the job of shining up all your home’s mirrors. Hand over the non-toxic spray and a roll of paper towels (or a clean, reusable microfiber cloth) and let them go to town. 
  • Baseboards. Let’s face it: no one cleans their baseboards often enough. Let the littles who are closer to the ground take on the task.

DIY hacks | Home and garden

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about Hannah

Hannah Fairbanks is a freelance writer living in San Francisco with her husband and 2 daughters. When she’s not writing, you might find her reading, packing bento box lunches for her kids, and making sure she gets in at least 10,000 Fitbit steps a day.