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 kids while still making it a time you and your child can enjoy.
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 them off slowly
As excited as your kids will be to start building, start them off slowly. Introduce them to the tools you’ll be using as well as what you’ll be doing. You may want to show them a picture of how the project will look when finished.
3. Teach them about wood
There are many kinds of wood available. Teach your child about the different kinds and educate them about the value of trees and the wood they produce. Consider using soft woods like redwood, white pine, fir or cedar.
4. Start them small
Expecting a young child to help you build a dresser is unrealistic and can result in frustration. It can quickly turn your child off on the idea of woodworking. Start your child off by building something small so your child can do a lot of the work.
5. Use real tools
Do not let your child learn woodworking by using toy tools. They’ll be more likely to exercise safety if they are using real tools. Tools you’ll use are a hammer, saw, nails, sand paper, paintbrush and paint or varnish. Use the easiest saw possible such as a hacksaw or saws that pull rather than needing to be pushed. Your child will find it easier using this type of saw, it’s much safer. Make sure all your tools are sharp and it good working condition. Sharp tools get the job done quicker and earn more respect.
6. Teach your kids about tool safety
This should actually be listed on the top because safety is paramount. Teach your kids not only about safety but also to always respect the tools. Make sure to use vises or clamps to hold the wood in place. You may also want to start the nails for them.
7. Know when to help and when to step back
While your child may want to do a lot of the building, be there to help when needed. Let the child do as much as he or she can do by himself or herself, but 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.
I’m Paul from Woodwork Boss – and as you might have guessed, I love woodworking! Woodworking is one of my true passions, and I love to share this passion with other interested people on my website. At woodworkboss.com, you’ll find woodworking tips, free project plans, buying guides, and inspirational posts.