Turning Home Improvement Projects Into Learning Experiences

Sponsored by ABRAMS Books.

Did you know that you should service your water heater on a regular basis? We didn’t and paid the ultimate price this year when the excess rust and build-up at the bottom of our water heater cracked and flooded our home.

Being a homeowner is tough sometimes. When something breaks, it’s on you to get it fixed or making sure it is maintained so that it doesn’t break. We are a do-it-yourself family and that means making sure we have the time and money to complete the projects. Our house has been in “home improvement” mode for longer than I care to admit.

When the water heater flooded the downstairs, I had to prepare the girls when they arrived home from school. We had pulled up the flooring and baseboards. There were multiple fans going to dry the floor and walls, so it was really loud in the house. I greeted both of the girls at the bus stop and explained to them that they would be walking into quite a disaster (more so than usual at least). I explained to them that it would be loud, and they needed to keep their shoes on when they were walking around downstairs to make sure they didn’t accidentally step on something sharp.

It was a jarring experience for the family. Aside from replacing the carpet in our home, we hadn’t experienced any major home improvement issues like this one. We can totally relate to the most recent book in the bestselling Wimpy Kid series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid #14: Wrecking Ball.

In Wrecking Ball, Book 14 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series—from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney—an unexpected inheritance gives Greg Heffley’s family a chance to make big changes to their house. But they soon find that home improvement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Once the walls come down, all sorts of problems start to crop up. Rotten wood, toxic mold, unwelcome critters, and something even more sinister all make Greg and his family wonder if the renovations are worth the trouble. When the dust finally settles, will the Heffleys be able to stay . . . or will they need to get out of town?

I asked my oldest what she would like if she could do any dream renovations to our house like Greg Heffley. She had a glimmer in her eye and said a room with a hot tub with a waterfall that comes out of the wall. Never one to shy away from an elaborate water feature! All I can think about is a plumbing disaster. The girls have been reading the book together and agree that it was just like our house lately. I like it when they can relate to the stories they are reading.

Turn a project into a learning experience

After the aftermath of our water heater incident, we had to do a lot to fix up the house. Cutting away and patching drywall. Replacing dryer vents and flooring. Because we are a DIY family, my husband makes sure to teach the girls how to do things for themselves.

Teaching our girls these skills will help them when they get older and have their own homes one day. Our job as parents is to teach them how to be successful adults. Whether they are male or female, being able to care for things themselves is the goal. Not relying on others or having to hire someone else to complete the project.

JaMonkey learned how to replace the dryer vent that goes through the outside wall recently. Screwing panels in the walls and under the siding. She also learned how to connect the inside components to make sure the dryer is working and venting properly, which is extremely important because if it doesn’t, it could start a fire.

Let kids help out around the house so they can learn every day. Even if they are just watching you, talk about the tools you’re using, all the steps in the process, and even going beyond that to explain why you have to take those steps.

Make sure to check out the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball (#14) book by Jeff Kinney

In Stores Now! Recommended for ages 8 – 12

Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS.

 

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle. Buy me a coffee

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