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Forum topic by twoblacklabs posted 10-10-2011 06:31 AM 1528 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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262 posts in 3174 days

10-10-2011 06:31 AM

My little one is itching to “Help Dad” in the shop. New territory for me. Looking for examples of what others allow young ones (6 years old) to do in your shops? I don’t want to regulate her to broom duty. She is already excited to be drilling pocket holes but I’m not sure what else to let her do.

At this point, there won’t be any kid specific projects until the conversion from garage to shop is complete. Maybe this winter. In the meantime, what can I let her do?


-- If You Haven't Got the Time to Do It Right, When Will You Find the Time to Do It Over?

21 replies so far

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3589 days

#1 posted 10-10-2011 08:08 AM

After raising eight kids, 4 boys and 4 girls, I would say that first there has to be a training program. Start with shop safety, then a simple project and take it from there. She will set the pace. Maybe walk thru a doll house build with furniture. Maybe Barbie furniture? Ask what she thinks. I think you have a young lady that is going to surprise you.

Best wishes to both of you.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3598 days

#2 posted 10-10-2011 08:15 AM

the broom is deffently the first shop tool children shuold learn to deal with …. :-)
aprentice´s have to start a place … and its a good one to introduce the rest of the
shop from like saftygear as the dust mask :-) and so on
if children is cable of understanding safty rules they can already at an age of 4
use a knife under supervision (you can´t do anything ells your self than watch from distance
while you look like you sanding a project in hands )
you have to deside if she can understand and follow the rules some children can from age of 4
and others I wuolden trust them with anything in an age of 20 year
handtools is dangerous tools too but if and when they have to be exstreemly sharp so they
don´t have to use force to cut thruogh the wood but can concentrate of doing it right instead
after the broom let her sand something with you, help assemple some of your projects so she thinks
it was importen she was there to help you with the exstra hand
for electric tools the scrollsaw and the square finishsander is good starting tools

but let her make her own little projects like birdhouse , toolbox etc. where you have prepared the wood
planed and cut to size so she only have to use an eggbeater drill to make thin guideholes for scews and nails , little hammer or screwdriver and glue to assemble them with
there is so many small projects for children out there you can thoose from with good drawings to
let her paint her projects as well

you will have great time together when you and her makes them and while you talk about
things under the process you slip in little by little how to and why it has to be done so
and always safty first :-)

good luck

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3584 days

#3 posted 10-10-2011 09:29 AM

My grandkids started out making some of the kid projects offered by Lowes. Basic tools like hammer and screw driver. Little sanding, little painting and ya broom duty….........

-- mike...............

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2984 days

#4 posted 10-10-2011 10:36 AM

I don’t have my kids (5 & 6) on specific projects yet, but they, especially the eldest, love using my cordless drill for drilling holes and driving in screws. Hammering nails is also good, but use a small hammer and a clothes peg to hold the nail to start. I havent got them cutting yet, but I think I should give them a go soon either with a junior hacksaw or a tennon saw and a mitre box.

I also need to make or buy some small projects that require assembly only followed by the all important painting. Don’t forget the painting! And if what they make can be given to Mum as a present, so much the better.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View A Slice of Wood Workshop's profile

A Slice of Wood Workshop

1094 posts in 3656 days

#5 posted 10-10-2011 12:47 PM

I’m on the same page as you. My 5 year old and 3 (almost 4) year old are always coming in the shop while I’m doing things. I have them help clean and they will take the cutoffs and “build” things from their imagination. I take them to lowes sometimes to build the weekend project. It gets us out of the house and they get to build something. It is very simple though and most projects can be done in 10 minutes. I think this winter the oldest is going to build a tool box and start getting her own tools. Saftey is very important in the shop. Everytime the girls are in the shop, I explain what they can and can’t touch…..and tell them the can’t touch stuff will cut their fingers offs (yes, maybe a bit graffic, but it works). Also sanding is always a good job for them, explaining they need to follow the grain (daddy whats grain?). I hope you have fun, I know I do.

-- Follow me on YouTube-

View PutnamEco's profile


155 posts in 3769 days

#6 posted 10-10-2011 04:57 PM

Kids are into immediate gratification, make some kits for her to assemble. I start beginning wood workers off assembling either bird houses or bird feeder kits. Pre drill starter holes so all they have to do is insert a nail and drive it home. It should not take more than about 10 minutes to assemble or they will lose interest. If she is artistic, she’ll probably enjoy painting it. The bird feeders are always a hit. It is always exciting to see their reactions when the birds find it, and they get to learn about both wood working and nature.

-- “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3369 days

#7 posted 10-10-2011 05:17 PM

I see the local home depot doing bird houses for the kids.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10700 posts in 4535 days

#8 posted 10-10-2011 07:19 PM

I remember my dad giving me Cutoffs… blocks of wood, 2×4, 1xX, etc. whatever…

I could arrange them various ways… and a supply of nails & a hammer, I could just pound Nails!
... and I could pull them out with the Claw part…

It was fun…

Not too long after that, he gave me a Hand saw… showed me how to use my thumb & how to push/pull a straight cut… That was fun too… I could make Blocks from Blocks!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 4009 days

#9 posted 10-10-2011 07:41 PM

always focus on safety. the first few projects should be things that can be done quickly, like one shop setting. as you start to make other projects that take more time plan them so that you have time to get them done right away. So if you have a busy weekend, dont start a three day project on a thursday when you cant get back to it for a week.

Drilling holes, screwing, nailing are all things kids like to do. Make a pencil holder by drilling a hole in wood (you can also cut fun shapes and make crayon holders.

have fun.

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3363 days

#10 posted 10-10-2011 08:05 PM

My older two sons like being in the shop with me. They are ages 5 and 7. I let them hammer nails into scrap boards, I will let them use the palm sander on certain things, cordless drill with me assisting… I also have a couple small hand planes I let them use… You can see that in my picture :) I also have a small miter box and saw that I let them use to cut scraps… They have been doing this stuff for a while and no injuries yet. I have let them know what tools are off limits.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2970 days

#11 posted 10-10-2011 08:54 PM

Interesting responses….. from let a kid learn to pound his/her finger to everything is safety first, to lots of stuff in between.

My dad had his shop set up powered by a 330 Ford industrial engine, with power shafts in the ceiling and leather belts connecting the tools…

You know the ones, table saw, morticer, band saw, moulder, drill press, etc. Everything we have today, except this was stuff handed down from my grandfather to my dad. All of it was originally powered by a water wheel on the Boise river and later by a steam engine and later by a huff and puff engine that would run on about anything… until dad got the shop and a friend installed a Ford motor to run stuff.

My first job in the shop was straightening nails. It doesn’t sound exciting, but that was the start. At the time dad was a fireman and had a side business of salvaging houses. Most of the houses he salvaged had hand made nails, (Yes, Even in southern Oregon in the 1950’s), those nails now days would sell for their weight in Silver, but at that time it was just “make-work” to keep a little boy occupied.
My second job was to learn to do set up…. Set up a fresh drink, set up a new target for your bean bag gun, set up the saw to make a 21/32” cut, set up the drill press for a 13/64” bit and set the table for a 22 1/2° angle, set this up, set up that.

Third job was to use a saw. First a hand saw, then a back saw, then a hand rip, now set them up for sharpening.

I think I was about 4 or 5 when I started, and by the time dad sold the house and the shop I was about 7 or 8.

Maybe the way I learned wasn’t the best way, but it put impressions into my mind for almost 60 years.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of it and look back with happiness and pride.

It wasn’t all drudge work, there was also play time. For instance, a friend had a set of Lincoln logs and I REALLY wanted some. Dad told me we were poor people and couldn’t afford to buy kindling at those prices. Then he went to work and showed me how to build my own set and after that helped me build some. To this day I still build with home made logs to make miniature log cabins and even mansions.

My point here is, no matter what dad did, he may not have had the teaching gene to teach me how to do something the right and proper way, but he did teach me the love of the smell of the wood and the pride in craftsmanship that I wish I could emulate to this day.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10700 posts in 4535 days

#12 posted 10-10-2011 10:01 PM

Dallas, nice story!

Thank you…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View DrDirt's profile


4592 posts in 4225 days

#13 posted 10-10-2011 10:17 PM

Scroll Saw Puzzles –
You just use a little spray adhesive on a piece of pine or whatever – it is really hard to get hurt with the scroll saw – but you cannot just ‘turn him loose’
This is a pattern from Wood Magazine (I don’t have a picture of ours) the example below is a beautiful job by Scott Michael.
My son and I made one for his kindergarden teacher for a Christmas present.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 3137 days

#14 posted 10-10-2011 10:39 PM

Here is something I did with my 4 year old twin girls. Most fun I’ve ever had in the shop.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View DrDirt's profile


4592 posts in 4225 days

#15 posted 10-10-2011 11:09 PM

Nice Don – the smiles say it all – - best to get them involved with something they can hold and look at and say “I made that”

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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