The Handy Dad: DIY Projects to Bond with Your Kids

May 08, 2023 4 min read

The Handy Dad: DIY Projects to Bond with Your Kids

There are a few things in life that are as great as passing skills along and bonding with your kids at the same time. Many dads lament that they didn't listen to their fathers or grandfathers more when they were kids, thinking that perhaps what they were being taught wasn't of value. Still other kids lament not having the wisdom passed on to them; maybe they didn't have a father in their life or maybe the father in their life just didn't care.

The fact of the matter is that bonding with your kids is something that can be done in lots of ways that teach presence in the moment and useful life skills. Whether you're coming together over a pot of chili or spreading a half ton of mulch, here are some of our favorite DIY bonding activities for you and your kids.

Bonding Activities for Dads with Younger Kids

There are plenty of activities that your youngins want to do, but many are a little above their pay grade. Sure your 4-year-old might think they're ready to do the lawn, but it's probably best to leave that to the professionals until they're a bit taller. However, here are a few of our favorite things to do with the little ones.


Every single kid loves Legos and a huge majority of dads do as well. Something about freeform building is engaging for both creativity and focus. It allows kids and adults to explore their imagination while creating something meaningful and teaches basic ideas of structure and form.

Even if you don't want to buy new Lego sets, you can find used ones relatively cheaply and frequently on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist in your area.


Cooking is something that can be as complex or as simple as you like. The younger your kids, the easier you can make it the better. Something as simple as chocolate chip cookies can be extremely easy for young children to understand and it's a skill that is important for every single person. Plus, you get to eat the stuff afterwards which is always awesome.

Simple Yard

Things like raking leaves or planting seeds are a great way to get kids interested in yard work and growing their own food. The act of putting a seed in soil and getting a plant out of it is truly awe-inspiring, even when you're a grown up; to little kids, it feels like magic. Having a garden is a great way to lower your overall food costs and the antidepressant nature of working in soil is critically important for all people, young and old.

Pinewood Derby

Whether you are racing cars for your local boy scouts or just for fun, making pinewood derby cars is something that you and your kids can bond over. Building it the way you want, painting it with your specific ideas, and then racing it and winning is an awesome feeling. And it's something that you can do every year with your kids, so when derby season starts, your kids will get excited. It's like another Christmas, but with tires.


Many kids who start hiking with their parents when they're slightly older might see it as a forced march. If you start with your kids at a younger age, however, they'll start to appreciate nature and the great feeling of physical exhaustion that can come with a nice hike. Plus, hiking gives you the opportunity to teach them in a hands-on way about birds, trees, animals, and whatever part of nature you love most.

Bonding Ideas for Dads with Older Kids

For dads who have older kids, the options to bond with them are a little bit more open. You can do more difficult work, more physical labor, and complete more complex tasks.

I'm all about using your kids for free labor, but teaching them how to do complex tasks around the house is a useful skill that will stick with them for a long time. In the moment they might protest, but the skills they learn will always harken back to the time they spent with you.

Home Improvement

Extending a patio or painting a room are things that any homeowner will eventually need to know and it's best to learn how to do it when you’re younger. Painting a room can be a big pain, but if your children know how to do it when they're 12 years old, it might become something they view as an enjoyable task when they're older. Not to mention, there are a lot of small mistakes that people make when they first start a project and it's better to get them out of the way when you're young.

The best thing to do is to frame it as an experience for them to change the color of their room for instance. You can help them pick out the color and let them choose when to do it and then you can bond while you do it together.

Go Karts

A step up from the pinewood derby is a car that you can ride in. Go karts are a great way to learn basic mechanical skills and build something from scratch that you can both use.

Likewise, working on a car together or learning mechanical skills is another way to provide extremely important life skills, not just bonding. 

Bonding and Learning

There are a few things in life as wonderful as learning an important skill or teaching your children a skill and remembering how you learned it from your dad. Many people do not have the luxury or the good fortune to have a dad that cares enough to teach them things and to bond with them. Being able to provide this experience for your kids is more valuable than you could ever imagine.

While any activity can be a bonding experience, any kind of DIY project can teach important life skills that they will always associate with your love.

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