Home » Home and Family » Woodworking

Woodworking With Kids For The Non Woodworker

Jack McKee
Jan 27, 2008
Anyone who is willing to spend some time setting up and then practicing using a few tools can help kids build nifty projects from wood. If you're not a woodworker don't think about "WOODWORKING." Think about the project in front of you. First build a top, then build a key ring, then a box. After a few projects, almost like magic, skills develop, patterns emerge and you're thinking of alterations and projects of your own. Its the same process children go through only adults learn faster.

Woodworking is really taught one-on-one in a continuing series of short lessons dished out at the right time. The key to explaining how to use a tool or to sand a board or to begin a project is to demonstrate. For example, you can tell a child it will be easier to sand a board if she puts it in the vice but nine out of ten times she won't do it. On the other hand if you say, "let me show you an easier way," put the wood in the vice and demonstrate a few sanding strokes the child will understand and after she's tried it will realized how much easier it is. Another example that occurs frequently involves measurements. Tell a child to measure the length of a box side by comparing it to another box and he may hear the words but not understand. Demonstrate by measuring the first board for him and he'll understand.

Much of woodworking is learning a series of labor saving tricks and clever ways to do things that would take forever to discover on your own. By taking a child's' wood, clamping it in the vice, and sanding it, its like you've shown her a trick or given a little secret away. In demonstrating how to measure a board you've shown exactly what to do and helped her. It puts you on her side and keeps the project moving forward with less frustration. If instead you ask her to figure out another way to sand, or measure, put the plan into words, tell you, and then do it, she will become confused. The rhythm and flow of the project is interrupted. Interest and excitement wane. After a demonstration words may work as reminders but things like measuring may have to be demonstrated several times before children remember to do it on their own.

Woodworking requires children to remember many new things. It is unrealistic to expect they will remember everything the first time. Reminders are necessary. I couch these reminders in terms of safety, not in terms of breaking a rule: "I'm afraid if you run in the shop you'll get hurt." "If you're goofing around the saw might accidentally cut your friend." "If we don't sweep up this sawdust someone might slip." Children see these rules make sense. A big part of being a woodworking teacher is internalizing these rules (posting them on the wall won't help) and dishing them out at appropriate times.

In woodworking an inexperienced person can become competent in a narrow specialty quickly. I could show someone who had never picked up a saw how to build a box. The first one she built wouldn't be that great and it would take a while to build too. The second box would be better. By the time she got to the 10th or 20th box, she wouldn't be a woodworker, but she'd be building good boxes fairly quickly. The same is true with woodworking with kids. After you've helped kids build 3 or 4 tops you're a top building expert.
About the Author
Jack McKee has worked as a mechanic, remodeled houses, built small boats and designed equipment used by children's museums, schools and preschools. He has worked at a Montessori school teaching "shop" to 3-6 year olds and for the parks department teaching summer woodworking classes for kids. His articles have appeared in Home Education, Tech Directions, Early childhood Today and Wooden Boat. He has written two books, Woodshop for Kids and Builder Boards. You can see more of Jack's creations in the do-it-yourself section of his web page at: home.earthlink.net/~mchkee
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 639
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources