10 Essential Skills Teens Gain through DIY Projects

Jan 7 / Sam Woods
Once upon a time, learning the basic skills that keep a home in order was something that most people took for granted. 

Many ladies of the older generation grew up being taught how to iron clothing, how to knit and sew. They learned how to cook, bake, and how to tend a garden.

In contrast, many older men grew up learning the ways of the handyman. They were expected to know how to fix plumbing, care for cars, and to see to the general maintenance of the house itself.

These days, many of these once-essential skills have been tossed into the ‘hobby’ pile. Why bother learning to fix your own pipes when you can hire a plumber? Why sew up torn clothing when you can buy a cheap new shirt from a big box store?

Many of these tasks are quite time consuming, and people just can’t afford to spend precious hours of the day to see them done. Time is money, so you might as well pay somebody else to handle it for you!

Still, there are reasons why these skills are still valuable to learn, and some of them are seeing quite a resurgence in the aftermath of the pandemic.

With more time at home, people started looking for ways to become more productive, so it’s no surprise that a renewed burst of interest in DIY (Do-it-yourself) culture followed. Taking up new hobbies and sharing the results to social media provided plenty of fodder and inspiration for crafters and aspiring artists.

Remember that phase in 2020 where everybody became obsessed with making artisanal bread at home? Don’t ask me about my sourdough failures. I don’t want to talk about it.

My struggles in the kitchen aside, reconnecting with old forgotten skills brought up a lot of memories for me. I’m one of those people with ten thousand hobbies, and I learned many of them from people I love.

For example, I remember my grandmother sitting with me when I was little, teaching me the basics of crochet. I taught myself the rest after she passed away, and that’s a connection to her that I’ll always have.

That skill means something to me, far beyond the simple act of passing the time with a crochet hook.

I’ll bet you have some memories like that too, of learning skills and hobbies at the knee of a friend or loved one. It’s easy to lose touch with that these days, but imagine how amazing it would be to pass that legacy on to the next generation!

And if you don’t have traditions in your family of teaching skills like that, then why not start one now? There’s so much value in learning how to do things for yourself, and for your teens, there are a lot of great benefits: 

Self-reliance:

Learning DIY skills empowers teenagers to handle their own problems and not be overly dependent on others for solutions. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to think, “How can I solve this issue?” instead of, “Who can solve this issue for me?

Practical problem-solving:

DIY projects can enhance a teenager’s ability to think critically and solve practical problems, a skill that is transferable to many aspects of life and work. It’s not just about the skill they’re learning, it’s about a shift in how they look at the world.

Creativity and innovation:

Engaging in DIY activities stimulates creativity and encourages teenagers to think outside the box, coming up with unique ideas that they might not have considered before.

Life preparedness:

Whether it's fixing a leaky faucet or sewing a button, DIY skills prepare teenagers for the unexpected challenges of adult life. All of the tiny problems we come across can seem daunting when they all pile up. Knowing how to handle them will ease your teen’s anxieties about the future.

Saves money:

Knowing how to do things yourself can save money that would otherwise be spent on professional services or buying new products. Why buy a new shirt when you can sew up a tear? Why buy expensive clothes when you can personalize a cheap shirt with embroidery or a decorative patch?

Career exploration:

DIY skills can lead to the discovery of a passion that turns into a career path, such as carpentry, electrical work, or design. You never know what’s going to click in your teen’s mind, so it’s good to encourage them to try new things. Who knows? Maybe your kid will turn out to be the next Picasso. They’ll never know if they never pick up a paint brush.

Technology detox:

DIY projects provide a constructive way to take a break from screens and engage with the physical world. Do you think your teen spends too much time on the computer, or staring at their phone? Well, they probably do. We all do. Guilty as charged.

Sense of accomplishment:

Completing a DIY project brings a sense of pride and boosts self-confidence, reinforcing the belief in one's capabilities. Stepping back to look at a finished project is an amazing feeling, especially when it comes with praise and affirmation from friends and family.

Environmental responsibility:

Through DIY skills, teenagers can learn to upcycle, recycle, and repurpose, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle. Recycling old cardboard into new paper is a great example, or turning old ruined jeans into a new bag or purse. The sky’s the limit.

Community connection:

Sharing or volunteering DIY skills can help teenagers connect with their community, learn from others, and even provide valuable services within their neighborhood. Imagine your teen building up an entrepreneurial spirit, earning their first dollar by selling something they made themselves. How cool is that?
Learning DIY skills can have a huge impact on you and your kids.

It can reinforce traditions passed down from generation to generation, and practicing a new hobby together is a great way to improve relationships between family members. When I was a kid, I loved building cool stuff with my stepdad.

When I visit my father, we spend lots of time puttering around in his workshop, coming up with ideas for something wacky to throw together. It’s fun, and it’s great to have that time to bond and reconnect when we see each other so rarely.

Learning a DIY skill can help your kids see the world in a new light, increase their confidence, and improve their creativity. It gets them active, it can inspire them, and it can teach them lessons that they’ll take with them through the rest of their lives.

There’s no better time to start.
Samantha Woods
Author

Sam Woods

Content editor and contributor at YouthStald Coaching. Visit my blog to read more of my articles and stories.
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