This is the second post in a new Project Kid series that provides ideas for family bonding. Our goal is to inspire you to make time for activities you forgot you loved and that your kids will learn to love with you! Last week our topic was Snail Mail and this week we’re talking about Treasure Hunting.
by Clare Yaghjian
Bargain hunters aren’t born, they’re raised! With yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets, and lucky curbsides, there are so many opportunities to hunt for treasure, but kids won’t know where to look unless you show them first. When you teach your kids to keep an open mind about where to find value, it will help them learn a lot more than just how to save money.
Treasure hunting can be a great opportunity to:
- Show your kids that what was old can be new again. When one person is done with something it doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful.
- Teach them that when you buy something that has been used before it’s recycling and is more environmentally friendly than buying something new.
- Get your kids interested in items from the past and share a history lesson. The Tidewater Family suggests helping your kids start a collection of inexpensive items like tiny bottles, costume jewelry, or vintage toys that they can slowly add to their collections over the years, while practicing patience and selectivity.
Hunting treasures is only half the fun though. Even more bonding time can be spent transforming the treasures. Everyone loves a good before-and-after (hello, Fixer Upper!), even kids, and especially if they are part of the magic. Contributing to the home decor will give your kids a sense of pride and accomplishment, and you can’t put a price on that!
Below we’ve collected inspiration for fun ways to makeover common items you can find at any treasure hunting spot. They’re easy introductions to thrifting that have plenty of space for personality and almost no need for power tools.
Don’t let their small stature deceive you, stools can have a big impact! Block ears and a coat of paint are all you need to craft these cute animal stools Project Kid made last year. Let your child help choose a patterned paper or even découpage cut outs to brighten up a bland step stool like This Little Street did. Or create a cozy reading nook your kid won’t want to leave by following Lia Griffith’s how to for a faux fur stool.
BASKETSBaskets make great projects for beginning thrifters. To mimic this yellow and blue basket from Brit + Co , make tape stencils that your little ones can help paint in. Don’t limit a basket to bikes, scooters look super with one too! (via Paper Mama). Design Improvised’s yarn embroidered baskets (bottom left) look great whether you use them to hold things or hang them on the wall.
Though children and china don’t usually go together, when you pick up pieces for cheap, it doesn’t matter if they get chipped! Glowing cups and saucers have a fairy tale feel that your kids will love. Bring beauty to your table (without the beast) by following directions from Dans le Lakehouse to make cup candles (top left). An eclectic collection of cups looks cohesive when they’re filled with cactuses (via Dcoracao). Even if your kid doesn’t have any genuine jewels yet, having a special place for tiny trinkets teaches them to take care of their things. Let them pick the pieces to make this charming tchotchke dish (bottom left) from My So Called Crafty Life.
Have suitcase, will travel. Whether its through the imagination, to the park, or off to dreamland – a suitcase has the power to transport its owner. Find how-tos for the mouse living room from Handmade Charlotte, the dino box from The Craft Train, Picnic Basket from Home Talk, and pet bed from My So Called Crafty Life.
Dressers are usually more about function than fun, but their size makes them the perfect canvas for bold ideas. Get graphic with paint by adding ombre drawers (via decor8) or using whimsical stencils (top right) like the ones from Royal Design Studio. Apartment Therapy shows you how to make drawer pulls from mismatched yard sale toys – which look great together when they’re gilded. And for a more magical option, take out top drawers and install a pole to create a costume closet (via Rambling Renovators).
Shelving units have the potential to truly be transformed into all sorts of kid sized spaces. Barley and Birch added wallpaper behind a bookshelf and a little washi tape on the wall to make a perfectly proportioned dollhouse. To create a workbench like DIY Network’s, add a piece of plywood and a pegboard to set of shelves. For those for a few more carpentry skills, like Duck Egg Blue, an old cabinet can become a tiny kitchen set.
And finally one more item to keep an eye out for when treasure hunting is dollhouses. As Thoughts from Alice demonstrates, a mini dollhouse renovation can be a great project for the whole family. Get the satisfaction of redoing every room of the house – on a small scale.