Helping children become handy

Grandparents Teach, Too

“Woodworking gives me something useful to do when I’m feeling puny and it takes my mind off my troubles.” — Gary McCarthy

Kids and adults feel “puny” sometimes and a little woodworking can help them feel strong again and regain a great attitude when they work together.

Anthony Carrino of the renovation show “Cousins Undercover” suggests very young children can start with toy tools, and children age 6 on up with real tools and a kid-friendly tool kit. Grandparents and parents can raid their tools and purchase a tool bag or start kids from scratch.

Craig Stevens, a carpenter and author, suggests starting with a small but real hammer and help kids pound some nails straight into a board or stump and then pull them out. Help them turn a few screws on a soft pine board or tighten a loose one somewhere. Look for both flat and Phillips head screwdrivers.

Also, gift them with a fabric measuring tape that includes fractions and teach them to go around the house measuring furniture. Bubble levels are also fun to use. If you have a new smart phone, there is a level on your phone.

Craig Stevens has written the very popular, “Woodshop 101 For Kids.” He includes 14 woodworking projects for parents and kids to build together. His web site is woodworkersresource.com for school age children and their families.

Needed tools

Stevens suggests the following tools for this age: a 12-foot measuring tape with fractions, a wooden 12-inch ruler with fractions, and 7- to 10-ounce hammer. You can include a hand saw, power drill (with supervision), auger, awl, nail and screw box sets of 1 1/4 and 1 5/8, Phillips and flat head screw drivers, western and Japanese hand saw, coping saw, block plane and rasp. Add some sandpaper (100, 120, 150, and 180), white and wood glue, clamps, combination square, speed square, and child-size safety glasses that fit and won’t slip. Children may also like a wood-burning kit.

Many projects

His book and site have information about the science of wood and how-to directions for easy start-up projects such as picture frames, crayon or pencil holder, art caddy, stepstool, marshmallow catapult and many more. Pinterest.com/ woodworking projects for kids is another good site for ideas. Other books for teaching and ideas include: “Easy Carpentry Projects for Children” by Jerome Leavitt and “Kids’ Building Workshop” by Craig Robertson.

There also are ready-made tool kits and projects from “Kraftic DIY Delux Carpentry Woodworking Kit” by Kraftic and “Active Kyds Tool Kits” for kids 6-13 by Active Kyds.