My husband Lee and I spend hours on computers each day. It is our job, and we enjoy it. And at the same time our kids ask for screen time (tv, leapsters, ect) when we are on "screens." I have noticed a huge difference in how our children spend their time when we are engaged in home projects.
I would not describe our two children as outdoor kids. They enjoy the park and helping walk our dog, but at the sight of a bee they run indoors. But with Lee working outdoors the last several weekends they spent hours outside helping hammer, lay bricks, play croquet, water flowers, and play in the sprinkler.
The reality is: as parents (grandparents, aunts and uncles) we have a huge influence on our children in the early years. Children mimic what they see. I am not saying we should try to be perfect parents or that our world should be completely centered around them. In fact I am saying the opposite.
Engage children in the process
Ask them to help with tasks. If you laying bricks, ask them to help. Water flowers or a garden? The perfect task for children. If it a construction project be sure the area is free of nails/sharp objects and that they are wearing good shoes.
Don't overfill the activity schedule
When one rushes from soccer to baseball to chess club there is very little time to be home. Creativity takes time. Family time can't be crammed into 30 minute increments. Suburban American culture will try to influence that your days need scheduling 24/7.
Praise them for a job well done
When they use the hammer for the first time or figure out how to use a paint brush, praise them for their work. Completing tasks gives them self worth and encourages them to try again.
Find jobs they can do
I am not one of those Moms who has a chore chart for her kids. For us it is more about what the day's needs are and how we can help one another. When I am busy with dinner I ask my kids to clear the table and help set it. We keep kids cups on the bottom shelf so they get their own drinks. With the brick patio project my husband often needed his water bottle refilled and our kids were happy to help.
I am making over the kids' playroom and was hanging a plank wall last week. I walked upstairs to find our 7 year old nailing boards to the walls. And doing a good job of it. They were straight and he had nailed them in without hurting himself. Rather than correcting, I (covering my surprised) praised him for a job well done.