By John Philip Deen
When you hear the word "woodworking", what pops into your head? Do you picture carpenters putting up a house or building a shed? Is it the sounds of a hammer banging on a nail or a piece of wood being sawed? Perhaps it’s the smell of sawdust, paints, and varnish that you recall.
You may be surprised to learn how good an activity woodworking can be for children! Keep reading to learn its benefits, the proper safety precautions, and five woodworking projects you can do with kids.
Benefits of Woodworking for Kids
Children that practice woodworking learn to take risks, face challenges, and make decisions in a controlled environment. It’s a great activity that teaches them that persistence and perseverance can be rewarding. Woodworking is a great way of developing critical thinking skills by fine-tuning their ability to focus and concentrate when it comes to solving problems and accomplishing tasks. When done in a group, it is also a nice way of teaching kids the importance of sharing and teamwork. Since woodworking is a physical activity, they develop their large motor skills by using their arm muscles, while honing their fine motor skills when holding nails or screws in place. Woodworking is a very good method for allowing a child to express themselves and showcase their creativity.
Hundred.org has a great excerpt when it comes to the cognitive and intellectual benefits of woodworking to children: "Woodwork is a wonderful medium for expressive art and creative design and it also has the benefit of encompassing many other areas of learning and development providing a truly cross-curricular activity. Mathematical thinking is developed, scientific knowledge is gained, technological understanding is developed through working with tools, and children become engineers as they construct."
Probably the biggest benefit a child receives from woodworking is how beneficial it is to their emotional and social growth. Woodworking helps to instill a sense of responsibility in a child, develop their sense of competence, and the importance of safety. When done with a group, their social skills develop as he learns the value of camaraderie and of respecting others. This helps build the self-confidence of a child and fosters in them a positive mindset.
When woodworking, it doesn’t matter what the age is. Safety is very important and should always be the number one priority. Make sure your work area is clean and organized. When using any kind of tools, always wear safety goggles. They come in all sizes, so both adults and children should use them. Teach your child the importance of each tool being used and how to use them properly. Remember to be patient with them and give them time to learn. Since you’re woodworking with kids, working on the ground instead of on a table will be easier for them.
Take advantage of the good weather outside by woodworking in your backyard instead. Being under the sun, both you and your child should use sunblock for protection from harmful UV rays. Keep insects away by using the best natural and DEET-free bug spray out there: Nantucket Spider. Its special blend of organic essential oils like cedarwood, clove, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, and citronella is what makes Nantucket Spider the best essential oil insect repellent with a 98% -100% success rate in independent lab tests. To keep your woodworking child free from bug bites, we suggest using Nantucket Spider’s insect repellent for kids.
We’ve listed some of our favorite woodworking projects we found online that you and your child can work on and have fun with. For more detailed instructions, click the respective link!
For kids that are 4-6 years old, this project is a great way to introduce the little ones to woodworking. All you need for this project are a few short 2x4 blocks, some paint, sandpaper, nails, and a hammer. This project gives kids the chance to practice using a hammer and develop their hand-eye coordination when they’re holding the nail. You can have the kids customize the way their porcupine looks by having them draw eyes and a nose, and paint them using their favorite color.
This project is something that your child will enjoy since it’s something they can play with once it’s finished. All you need are some pieces of wood and a mesh string for the net. A soccer goal is a nice way of ensuring your child gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. If they enjoy the sport, it can help them develop their dribbling and shooting skills. Don’t forget to have a ball ready for when it’s done.
This project is great for teaching your child how to use a drill and saw. It also lets them learn about birds and nature. For this project, you’ll need a drill with 7/8″ bit, a handsaw, a sturdy, thick 16″ branch with bark, rope, and natural peanut butter or birdseed. This project is safe for young kids provided there is adult supervision. Watch their eyes light up once they see birds start using the feeder!
One of the most popular woodworking projects for kids online, this coat rack is easy to build. As a bonus, it also teaches your kids to clean their rooms by properly hanging their coats and jackets. It’s a colorful and fun project your child will surely love doing.
This is another simple and easy woodworking project where you can also teach your kids about growing and taking care of plants. A wooden planter can be made during the onset of warmer weather and your child can use it to plant their favorite vegetables or herbs. It’s a good method of teaching your kids the importance of eating healthy.