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There is no better way to get your kids thinking on their feet and learning valuable skills than with woodwork projects.
Not only is it fun for all – including the parents – but it also teaches physical and mental skills to children. Plus, if you have more than one child, it’s a great way to get the children working together and helping each other. What more could a parent ask for? Providing they don’t squabble over who’s doing what!
There is a huge variety of woodwork projects that you can construct with your children as they get to decide what to build. It’s an endless list, and it also lets your children’s imagination run free. Then together as a family, you can plan out how you’re going to make it and get the right materials and tools ready – and let the creativity begin!
Woodwork projects are suitable for all experience levels. But if the children are new to using tools and building, then it is best to start with some easier projects to get them used to the tools. That way, they can see how pieces of wood can be fitted together and held in place.
If you – the parent – haven’t done any woodwork projects before, don’t worry! You will gain some skills too by helping the children do their tasks. The instructions are easy to follow, and because they are aimed at children, nothing is too difficult or fiddly. You never know, you may develop a real taste and flair for doing woodwork yourself. Think of all the amazing things you could build without having to buy them!
What Age Can Children Start Completing Woodworking Projects
Well, this is entirely up to you as the parent.
If you have young children, then there are plenty of plastic tools that you can purchase. You can get them to either copy what you are doing – with real wood – and they can do the same on foam. Or you may get them to tap the real nail while it’s attached to the wood already, to get them used to tapping the top of the nail. Although it won’t move into the wood, it will help them develop the skills. This is for younger children.
Children aged from five-year-old plus (or four-year-olds, depending on their development) can use real tools. However, you can buy specific children’s tools which are smaller than adult ones – especially hammers as an adult one will be a little bit heavy for children unless you’re doing this with older children or teenagers.
If you have children of different ages and skill levels, try to adapt or choose easier to build wood projects so they can all be involved. The younger children may prefer to paint the woodwork creation at the end instead of being around when tools are being used.
What Skills Will the Children Learn and Develop
There are many skills that your children will learn and develop when doing woodwork projects.
If they enjoy completing the projects, this will be a plus. You can watch them develop by gradually doing harder projects each time. Plus, it will keep the kids busy for hours, so it’s perfect for those house days.
The most important skills they will learn are:
- Solving Problems – Each project will come with instructions on how to complete the project, but even with instructions, they will need to think about what the instruction is and how they go about doing it.
- Thinking Creatively – This will be developed by doing their own projects. You could give them a few materials and tell them to make something to see what they can think of. Also, if your project requires some paint, they will need to think of the best colors to use.
- Dexterity and Coordination – When using the hammer, they will gain great hand and eye coordination and movement of their fingers and hands.
- Communication – Even if you do this with one child, they will ask questions, and if you have a few children, they will speak amongst themselves to solve issues.
- Independence – This will grow their self-esteem as they will feel confident once they have completed a project.
Other skills include being able to fix pieces of wood together in the correct way and using a measuring tape, which helps with numbers and equations. They will also learn how to use tools correctly by being respectful of them and sharing them also.
This is vital.
Using real tools does carry a few safety risks, but if you are supervising, they will learn to be careful and gentle and aware of any dangers. When first using a hammer, it’s best to get them to hammer nails into a soft material such as foam first before doing this on harder wood.
That way, they can learn to hit the nail properly and without having to tap too hard. It’s best to use nails with large heads, and it may be worth starting the nail before handing it over to the children to complete.
Depending on what woodwork project you’re completing, you may require different tools for each.
Each project will tell you what tools are needed before you start so you can be well equipped and make sure you have them to hand. You don’t want to excite the kids with a project only to find out you haven’t got the right tools at home.
The main tools that will be required are:
- Hammer – An age-appropriate one
- Glue – For fixing wood together
- Large head nails – Small ones if also required
- Screwdriver – If screws are used instead of nails
- Dowels – To join pieces of wood without visible nail heads
- Sandpaper – To smooth rough edges
- Measuring tape – A ruler can be used if they find that easier
- Drill – This will probably only be used by yourself unless you have older children
Material to Use
Each project instructions will tell you what type of wood to use or material, but using softwoods might be a good idea, especially when using nails.
Woods like redwood, fir, white pine, and cedar are good types of softwood.
Your project may require paint or fabric to be used for the final decorations, so make sure you have the required materials before you start.
Let Creativity Run Wild – How To Plan a Unique Woodwork Project
If you would like your children to use their imagination and come up with an idea of what they would like to make, you should do a few things to plan for the big build! Or a small build!
First, get them to draw a picture or describe what the idea is to you. Then once it’s drawn and you got a visual of the idea, ask them if there are any paints or fabrics or any additional ‘design features.’
Then figure out how much wood you will need. Do you have the tools needed to create the shapes of wood required? If not, your local hardware store might be able to help you, especially if they know it’s a project for keen little woodworkers. Decide on what the measurements of each section will need to be.
Think about the fixtures that will be needed nails, screws, glue, or any other fixing item.
Write a list of all the items needed and do a brief instruction on how to assemble. Your local hardware store might also help with this if woodwork isn’t your forte.
Then, once it’s all written down and the materials are ready to go, watch and assist where your child needs to put them to build their unique idea.
Woodwork Project Ideas to Make with The Kids
The list below will help you to decide what woodwork project would be suitable and great for your kids to complete:
- Small Sailing Boats – You will only need a small piece of wood, either a rectangle or circular, a stick, some material, and glue. This is easy. The stick is stuck onto the wood with the glue – then, you glue a sail onto the stick. Simple but fun.
- GeoBoard – You need a nice thick block of wood or circular piece, some nails, a hammer, and some elastic bands. Simply get your kids to tap the nails into the board in various places, then they can creatively put the elastic bands from one nail to another. Use different color bands.
- Bird Box – This will require the right shaped and sized wood as it needs to fit together like a box with a small slanted roof. (Do a flat roof if it’s a younger child). A hole will need to be cut to allow the birds to fly in. The best reason to make this is that the kids can add their own creativity to this and decorate it in colors that they choose. The glue will need to be used for the assembly.
- Wooden Box – This can be for toys or smaller ones for pens and pencils. The wood will need to be measured and cut to size. Any rough edges will need to be smoothed. Either use glue or nails. You can create one with a lid, as this gives them more to do. Once assembled, they can decorate the box in any colors or fabrics that they like. Doing this project is fun, creative, and very useful at building skills!
There are many other woodwork projects that the kids can do, and there are many that even have moving parts. For example, they could make wooden toys that have wheels at the bottom.
Just remember, start with an easy one; if it’s too hard, your child may lose interest straight away. Happy building!