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Green Building Blog

A Bucket List for Contractors’ Kids

Twelve things that every builder’s kid should experience before his or her 18th birthday

Here’s a list of favorite things that every contractor’s kids should experience before they turn 18! Enjoy the list — and feel free so suggest additions.

1. Visit the dump. Nothing will better impress your kids about the consequences of our actions than seeing and smelling the detritus our society generates and then buries!

2. See spray foam being sprayed. This is about as cool as it gets. Put on the body suit and respirator and get ready to see some smiles. Psshhhhhhht and watch it expand. Then have fun poking it full of holes!

3. Install fiberglass insulation or roofing shingles, in Texas, in the summer! Not only will you find out whether or not you successfully instilled a work ethic in your kids, this experience will almost certainly make them want to go to college to avoid ever having to experience it again!

4. Visit a lumber mill and watch a log go in one end and a sheet of plywood come out the other. And absolutely nothing beats the smell of sawdust!

5. Power up with power tools. Lock and load a nail gun, chop saw, and jack hammer. Those are my top favorite power tools, and I think my three nephews are still shaking from the 2-day, 14-hour tour of duty they shared with me behind a 65 lb. jackhammer this summer!

6. Words do make a difference. Teach them the meaning of a home run, Jitterbug, bird’s mouth, cripple, header, king and jack studs, 9-lite, united inch vs. square inch, and red tag vs. green tag.

7. Feeding time. Donuts in the morning, lunch in line at the lumberyard, and end the day eating out of a job-site taco truck. Yummy!

8. The basics. The difference between level and plumb, how to pop a line, unload a lumber truck, pick up nails, and sweep the floor.

9. Get them high! Teach them how to walk the top plate, climb the scaffolding, or ride the basket of a mini-lift. Heck, I still love doing that!

10. The gnarly stuff. Put on rubber boots and try out a bull float, pick up the sledgehammer to break up the bricks, or at least have fun stomping trash in the dumpster!

11. Smiles all around. Fire up a power washer, punch a hole in drywall and break a pane of tempered glass.

12. Climb aboard! Backhoe, bulldozer or bobcat. ’Nuff said.


  1. Kathy Price-Robinson | | #1

    The dump!
    Ah, the dump! Good times. Thanks for the memories. My best memory is picking up coated copper wire strips on jobsites. My inventive dad made a contraption for stripping off the coating. Then we would sell the copper to a metal scrapyard and pocket the dough. Very fun!

  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Are you sure it's called a "bucket list?"
    Actually, I think it should be called a "drywall bucket list." After all, a drywall bucket is required for almost every activity listed -- including feeding time, when it becomes furniture.

  3. Daniel Morrison | | #3

    Pending news, Michael?
    Should we expect news of a 'Bambino Strong' soon?

  4. Michael Strong, LEED Associate, CGP | | #4

    kids & buckets
    I'm working on those bambino's every day I promise! And martin, you are right. I'm not sure a "bucket list" for kids is accurate since they certainly have a bit more string left in the roll than the rest of us. So let's call it the "mud bucket" list!

  5. user-980774 | | #5

    Lessons learned
    My daughter grew up on jobsites and as a young adult is continually amazed that others don't understand how things work (or not) and how things are put together. She watched a friend cut both a water pipe and wire during a minor remodel. She was amazed that he never even though about what could be behind the drywall.

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