HOW DO I GET MY CHILDREN/GRANDCHILDREN INTO WOODWORKING?

OCTOBER 19, 2021

👋 Few things are as exciting and rewarding as building something yourself. This is particularly true with woodworking. Even more exciting is finding out your kids have the same interests and desires to build things.


However, when it comes to working with young kids, there is a fine line between making fun or turning it into work.

Here are 8 steps on how to introduce woodworking to your children or grandchildren while still making it a time you and them can enjoy.

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  • "With the right guidance, even a parent with no woodworking experience can teach his kids basic woodworking skills."



"With the right guidance, even a parent with no woodworking experience can teach his kids basic woodworking skills."


THE BENEFITS OF WOODWORKING FOR KIDS


Woodworking is great for fine and gross motor muscle development and co-ordination, and offers lots of opportunities for problem solving, spatial awareness and using a variety of skills, but it’s also a great creative medium. Woodworking can also provide kids an outlet for their creativity and challenge them to tackle design problems. It teaches kids to count and measure. Using basic woodworking equipment, such as a tape measure and a speed square, kids can develop basic and marketable math skills.


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8 WAYS TO GET KIDS INTERESTED IN WOODWORKING

#1. Plan Ahead 


Few things can discourage a young child more than if you don’t know what you’re doing. While you may want to let your child have a say in what they’re building, plan your strategy before you begin so you don’t have to keep stopping to reorganize and look for supplies and tools.

#2. Start Slowly


Keep in mind that you want to start slowly. You wouldn’t want to begin by teaching your four year old how to use a rotary saw. Instead, give your younger child small jobs. A good task would be helping sand a plank of wood to prepare it for staining, or letting him or her draw a measurement while you hold the ruler and point out where the line should begin and end. Start with the most basic tools and techniques and build on them one by one. A child’s first project might be something as simple as making a set of shelves or a small bookcase.

#3. Teach Them About Wood


Teach your child about the different types of wood, what trees produce that wood and the properties of each. Tell them why you would use oak instead of pine for a certain project. Show your child that there is more to woodworking than cutting and nailing boards together. Wood can be bent, carved, burnt, painted, glued, or stained to make many different and beautiful things. You can point out kitchen cabinets, furniture in the living room, a guitar in the corner, or the picture frame hanging on the wall as examples of wood’s versatility.


#4. Start Small


When introducing woodworking to kids, or starting in on it yourself, start simple. Pick something that the kids find interesting and can serve a purpose around the house. Little kids are notorious for always wanting to help, even if them “helping” doesn’t actually result in getting the chore done faster or better. They would love the chance to help make something for the house, and it will give them a sense of accomplishment and boost their self-esteem knowing that they helped their parents build something.

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#5. Use Real Tools


It is important to use real tools. Plastic tools do not teach children how to accurately manipulate a real tool. Check the list below:


A child sized hammer: small hammers are cheap and easy to find at most hardware stores, make sure you get one with a claw so you can use it to remove nails as well as hammer them!


Nails: they need to be fairly long and with a large head for beginngers.

A hand drill and drill bits: A hand drill or brace is a hand tool used with drill bits to drill holes.


A clamp or a vice: for holding things together while you attach them, it makes it easier and safer to have things clamped securely in place.


A ruler and pencil for measuring and marking: a builders tape measure is fun too, but harder for little hands to use to actually measure.


Wood glue: an easy way to attach small items and decorations.

Sandpaper: of varying weights.

#6. Teach Your Kids About Safety


  Safety is the most important aspect of woodworking. Whether you are 4 or 40 years old, safety is key. The kids need to know that if they are going to be working in the woodshop, there are rules that everyone, even you have to follow.

  

- Always wear safety goggles or glasses when working with any tool. Goggles come in sizes from adults and children, so find a pair that fit each child well and will not fall off while working.

- Patience is another important safety aspect. Don't rush through steps. A woodworking project can take a long time.

- Have a clean and organized workspace to avoid missteps and distractions. When exploring woodworking with very young children, you can even work directly on the floor instead of at a table. 

#7. Know When To Help And When To Step Back


Woodworking can be a great bonding experience for kids and their parents / grandparents so be there to help when needed. Let the child do as much as he or she can do by himself or herself, and let them know you’re available if needed.

#8. Don’t Be Discouraged


Depending on the age of your kids, you may find that they’ll get bored quickly or want to quit. Don’t let this discourage you from doing the project. You may find it helpful to set a time limit and not be afraid to take breaks. You don’t have to complete the project all in one day.

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Woodworking is an interesting hobby with a lot of potential. Once you learn and master the basics of this craft, the possibilities are endless. Combine this experience with teaching your kids or grandkids, and you have something truly special!


Josh J. Gur - CEO

CEO of Sanrico

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