This weekend my daughter Alex and I decided we were going to paint a birdhouse for the yard. Since she's not even 3 years old yet, it requires a lot of planning! It was well worth it though- took us about an hour, and has given us lots of enjoyment. Even if it never attracts birds, it was a fun project for her to do that contributes to the beauty of our garden, and it makes the yard a little bit more whimsical and exciting for her.
Pre-planning: The nice thing about Alex is she takes a nice long nap every day, which gave me lots of time to get the birdhouse ready for her. If I had tried to do all of this when she was awake, her lack of patience (and mine) would have probably ended with a tantrum (from me AND her) and it would have made the whole process a lot less fun. We shopped for the supplies BEFORE her naptime, and it was an easy way to get her to take a nap ("We can't paint our birdhouse until you wake up from a nap sweetie!"). While she was napping I laid out LOTS of plastic, got all of the paints together (we used acrylic Patio Paint), and as you can see I also painted a base coat on the birdhouse. Now, if your child is older, you won't have to do that part, but as you can tell with the finished product, it's better to do that with a toddler if you want overall coverage.
It was a lot of fun to watch her concentrate on her paint job. The ENTIRE time she was talking to all of the birds saying "Here Birdie! I make pretty house for you! Come on in!". All in all, it was a great project for us to do together outdoors, and this abstract looking piece might make a bird family happy someday. Costs involved: $1.00 paintbrush set from Dollar Tree, $5.99 for the birdhouse from Michael's, and $1.75 per tube of Patio Paint, also from Michael's. The fact that you are all envious of our totally awesome one-of-a-kind birdhouse: Priceless :)