Woodworking For Kids
Woodworking For Kids in preschool through grade school.
My group of 4/5 yr olds spent about a month taking old computers, toasters, hairdryers apart each morning (with adult supervision). After dismantling a huge array of appliances and keeping the safe pieces we then began to nail and screw small pieces onto softwood. Each child went home with a “machine collage” that looked spectacular!
To introduce hammering cover chunks of Styrofoam (squares, balls, rectangles, etc.) with inexpensive lightweight cotton or polyester. Cover loosely and close the edges the whole way around. Using meat mallets as hammers and golf tees as nails, let the children hammer the “nails into the blocks”. The activity is a self-contained mess and can be thrown away when pulverized.
In the woodworking center, I put various kinds of squash for the children to pound golf tees into with plastic hammers. They love this…..especially the pumpkins!!
Try using plastic saws with the Styrofoam. As long as the saws have ridged ‘teeth’ they will cut through the Styrofoam. It does make a mess, but the children love it and it is a lot safer than real saws.
In our preschool 4’s class, we put screws into some wood blocks with a screwdriver. Then, we put these in our woodworking area along with knobs that could screw onto each different sized screw.
In the fall collect a variety of leaves. At the woodworking table place, a block of wood on the table then place your leaf on top. Cover your leaf with a small scrap of white fabric, or muslin. Use hammers or small blocks to bang on the fabric. The colors of the leaves come out on the fabric. This also works with flowers.
Use ceiling tiles to pound nails into when introducing your woodworking area. They are not as messy as Styrofoam and can be found at your local building supply store. I use roofing nails since they have larger heads.
Once a year I bring in tools for a special “Tool Day”. It usually follows my mother’s Day project where the children sand, stain, and decoupage their own mother’s day photo frame from a 5×7 piece of wood. We use tape measures, nails, screws, hammers, locks and keys, screwdrivers, etc. Of course, all of this is done under supervision in small groups and they get to take home their sample piece of wood with the hardware included. I get raves from the parents and I have never had a child hurt w/ these instruments. I love it because it is so “hands on”.