An Introduction

There have always been activities for families to do together. Some have been purely based on survival, such as hunting for food, building of shelter and protection against threats. Others have been about simple delights from cooking together to a fun day at the playground.

Regardless of how or why the activity was done, the connections made between family members during these projects have been unbreakable. From a parent showing their baking secrets to the next generation to two siblings coming closer together over a rousing game of tag, familial bonds are made through incalculable amounts of everyday fun. It is impossible to list all the activities that can be done between family members, but it is shockingly easy and satisfying to create amazing, educational, and joyful projects to add to said list. That is what this blog is all about.

We are Jason and Melissa Steiner, owners and main contributors of this blog and its parent company Hand in Hand Design Shop. Backyard Catapult started off with a simple idea: to one day build a catapult in our yard. I know, not a rip-roaring adventure of a tale, but my wife and I enjoy a good tension machine as much as the next person!

To elaborate, we are both builders and crafters.  Even before we married each of us enjoyed a trip to the hardware store and the sweet smell of sawdust. Carpentry, electrical, home repair and renovation, holiday crafting and working on vehicles were our bread and butter. On the small-scale side each of us also had a hand at the art table…with yours truly even aspiring to get an art degree in college (don’t ask).

My wife was well known for making her own Halloween costumes under a torrent of sewing machines and beautiful fabrics. From computer art placed in school art shows to making bird feeders out of recycled water bottles our hands were never idle.

Our jobs have even included the creative and imaginative. We both worked in live theatre as technicians and stage managers building sets, painting, lighting, and organizing a variety of entertainment. We also worked for Walt Disney World in the character department helping the famous friends set up iconic shows and meet and greets. We met at the parks (I was her boss which is the one time I can say that).  After months of small talk and an eight hour long first date, we suddenly were together comparing who had a bigger power tool collection.  

After our three children were born, we decided that they should share in the joy and creativity of making things, even something as absurd as a backyard catapult!  You see, our boys are homeschooled.  We are strong believers that everyday life can be a fantastic teacher.

Each time we do a project our kids look at us with curious and processing eyes.  They are learning, formulating and remembering. The boys learn through play and projects, which include arts and crafts, walks around town with a pair of binoculars and watching the simplest movements of hammer swings and sawing wood.

This blog is all about how they connect and learn from us and what you can do to help your families learn as well. We will be showcasing a wide range of activities, building projects, recipes and just daily growth that a family experience together.

We will provide the how-to instructions on making the projects and activities your own. The connections to be made, the joys of accomplishment, the questions and laughs that come from the kids unfiltered mouths are priceless.   

Family is a broad term, be it traditional or original, and doing even the most mundane thing with them can be both a learning experience and a wonderful fun filled time. So, get the family together for an outside walk, a kitchen table coloring session or a full-length construction project complete with hardhats and carriage bolts. Whichever project or activity you choose, your family will grow, learn and make a lifetime of unforgettable memories.