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Woodworking for Kids

Updated on December 18, 2015

Great Woodworking Ideas for Kids

When I was a kid, the first experience I had working with wood came in my seventh grade woodshop elective. I loved my first taste of woodworking. I dreamed of all sorts of projects I could make. Unfortunately, that would be the last time my academic schedule would allow me the chance to take a shop class. Fast-forward to college and I found myself taking a sculpture class. One of our projects was making a sculpture using a 2 by 4. Luckily for me, my boyfriend was very interested in woodworking at the time and had a band saw and other tools for me to use. My project turned out pretty well and my boyfriend is now my husband. We have two children, and of course they love to do what Daddy does! Kids can do many fun projects using wood and develop a lifelong love of woodcraft. Here are some projects for aspiring woodworkers of all ages! And be sure to share your favorite projects in the comments area below!

Image credit (Amazon.com)

Woodworking Poll

As I mentioned above, I didn't work with wood at all until my wood shop class in middle school. I wonder if this is pretty average, or was I way behind the curve? Take this quick poll to see where you fall in with other visiters to this lens.

When did you first start woodworking?

See results

Projects for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Kids at this age take great pride in their work!

While power tools are a ways off for kids in the preschool to kindergarten age range, sanding and painting are perfect tasks to get them interested in creating wooden works of art.

The very first wood project my daughter, at age three, made with me was using watercolors to paint a wooden letter "G" that we picked up at JoAnns. The letter was already nice and smooth and had a coat of white paint over all the sides. My daughter loved the colorful letter and beamed each time she seen it hanging on her wall. Later that year, with Daddy's help she sanded a wooden box and painted it with glitter paint to give to me for Mother's Day. The next year, when she was four, she sanded and painted a preassembled bird house and glued wooden letters to spell my name.

This is a good age to teach some basic safety rules as well. Getting a pair of safety glasses with adjustable ear pieces is handy to keep the dust out of their eyes while sanding and gets them in good habits for when they are older. My daughter always makes sure Daddy wears his glasses, too!

Walnut Hollow (3219) Unfinished Basswood Box, Classic
Walnut Hollow (3219) Unfinished Basswood Box, Classic

A simple wooden box is a great project to hone those sanding and painting skills, and it makes for a great gift, too!

 

Pre-K and Kindergarten Woodworking Essentials

Radians - G4 Junior Child Safety Glass-Clear Lens (1, Clear)
Radians - G4 Junior Child Safety Glass-Clear Lens (1, Clear)

Safety glasses keep the saw dust out of you child's eyes and gets them in the habit of using them every time they are working with wood. I couldn't find the child sized glasses locally, but amazon does carry them.

 
Darice Wooden Birdhouse-1 of 6 Assorted Styles
Darice Wooden Birdhouse-1 of 6 Assorted Styles

These little bird houses are great to sand and paint. Your budding artist will love painting this up for the birdies!

 

Projects for First and Second Graders

It's Hammer Time...

My daughter is now going into the first grade and is interested in taking on more complex projects. Her sanding and painting skills have improved and she has more strength now in her arms. She is also better about following rules now. I feel she is ready to learn to hammer nails in place and use a strait pull saw. This is where it pays to have been teaching safety all along.

For hammering practice, if you have a tree stump in your yard, you can use that to teach your kid how to hammer safely. I find that drilling some pilot holes into the stump makes it easier to get the hang of hammering the nails in. Have your child put the empty hand behind their back while they are hammering so they don't hammer their fingers. I, too, should stick to this advice since I have smashed a finger or two. The same rule goes for sawing. Either both hands on the handle or the non-saw holding hand behind the back.

Once these skills have been honed on the tree stump and scrap wood, your child is ready to try a simple project using their new skills. Building a simple birdhouse like the one found here is a good project to try. This particular project is relatively forgiving, and with the exception of the few holes which need drilling can mainly be completed by the child. Of course, an adult must supervise the child at all times! Supervision is not something that they grow out of until they are themselves adults.

First and Second Grade Woodworking Essentials

Shark Corp 10-2312 12-Inch Carpentry Saw
Shark Corp 10-2312 12-Inch Carpentry Saw

This great little saw is perfect for beginners, but will become your favorite saw too. It is sharp, so don't think this a toy. But with your supervision, your little woodworker will gain confidence in their abilities with this pull saw.

 
Grip-Rite 8HGBX1 8D 2-1/2-Inch Hot-Dipped Galvanized Box Nail with Smooth Shank, 1 Pound
Grip-Rite 8HGBX1 8D 2-1/2-Inch Hot-Dipped Galvanized Box Nail with Smooth Shank, 1 Pound

These nails have a big head, so they are easier for you inexperienced woodworker to hit.

 
TEKTON 3020 16-oz. Wood Claw Hammer [Older Model]
TEKTON 3020 16-oz. Wood Claw Hammer [Older Model]

Don't be tempted to get a "child's hammer." Those small hammers make nailing in nails hard work, even for an adult. Don't take my word for it; try nailing a nail with one sometime. This one pound hammer will be awkward at first, but with a little practice your woodworker will soon be hammering away.

 
Songbird Essentials DIY Build a Birdhouse Bluebird Kit. Made of Cedar Wood. Great Project for Kids
Songbird Essentials DIY Build a Birdhouse Bluebird Kit. Made of Cedar Wood. Great Project for Kids

A bird house kit is a good project to put those new hammering skills to use.

 
The Kids' Building Workshop: 15 Woodworking Projects for Kids and Parents to Build Together
The Kids' Building Workshop: 15 Woodworking Projects for Kids and Parents to Build Together

Once your kids have the "woodworking bug" you will need more projects to satisfy their woodworking fix. These are neat projects that will interest your budding woodworker.

 

Upper Elementary Age Projects

By now your child has mastered hammering nails and making strait cuts, and is probably eyeing more complex projects. This is the time to introduce the coping saw. With a coping saw and some thin wood your child can use their imaginations to design wooden Christmas ornaments, picture frames and more. To teach your kid how to make a cut out design in the middle of their work, as needed for the picture frame, have them use a hammer and nail to create a hole in the center area which will be cut out. They can then detach one end of the blade and thread it through the hole and reattach it to the saw. Once the center area is cut out detach the blad once again to remove the saw.

At this age once you give them a few ideas for the projects they can make, you can let them come up with their own ideas. You may be surprised with what they design! Some of their designs may end up as failures. Be sure to encourage them to keep trying with a different design. Sometimes they just get so excited with their designs that they overcomplicate them.

Woodworking Essentials for Older Elementary Age Kids

Robert Larson 540-2000 Coping Saw
Robert Larson 540-2000 Coping Saw

I still remember the first project I made using a coping saw - a duck corner shelf. I loved making all the curved cuts!

 
Robert Larson 540-7500 Coping Saw Blades for Wood
Robert Larson 540-7500 Coping Saw Blades for Wood

I needed a few replacement blades at first while I got the hang of things!

 
Woodshop for Kids
Woodshop for Kids

This is a really cool book for kids to do with their parent. If your young woodworker is yearning for more projects than this book will be a great gift!

 
Midwest Products  Thin Plywood Economy Bag, One Package
Midwest Products Thin Plywood Economy Bag, One Package

These are great for practicing and making simple projects. If you already have a nice scrap wood pile to raid, then use that!

 
Creative Imaginations Real Wood 12 in. x 12 in. thin birch
Creative Imaginations Real Wood 12 in. x 12 in. thin birch

These are really thin, but may make for an interesting project. They are designed to be used in scrap books, so they may make for a great gift for a scrap-booking relative!

 

What projects have you done? - Tell us what you think.

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    • diegocomercio profile image

      diegocomercio 4 years ago

      nice info about projects you can do with your kids when they are off school. I think kids need a lot more of these handcraft projects that can be shared with parents and less electronic gadgets that isolates them from their family.

    • profile image

      DanTucker 4 years ago

      Some very worthwhile family projects here, that's for sure! From the older Elementary Kids age group, which resource has been most popular? I like the look of Woodshop for Kids!

    • knitstricken profile image

      knitstricken 4 years ago

      I have never done a woodworking project. My husband has built us a chicken coop and goat shed. I'm hoping he and my son will surprise me with a wall of bookshelves one of these days. :o)

    • kwj profile image

      kwj 4 years ago

      Some great project and tool ideas here. Youngsters should be encouraged to know how to use tools safely and develop their creative skills.

    • JackieBlock profile image
      Author

      Jackie Block 4 years ago from SE Michigan

      @yayas: Thanks, I hope you enjoy using some of these ideas! Have fun!

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 4 years ago

      I really enjoy this page of woodworking ideas for kids.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Worked on some games for my classes when I was in college. My husband did most of it :)

    • Kumar P S profile image

      Kumar P S 4 years ago

      Great lens ! Thanks for sharing.

    • spids1 profile image

      spids1 4 years ago

      Great lens very well written.

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 4 years ago

      I see that you also earned a Purple Star for this Woodworking for Kids page. I can definitely agree that it deserves a Purple Star. Congratulations again!

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 4 years ago

      I still don't have many woodworking tools. I have found many ways to create my own woodworking projects by doing as much as I can and then having someone who knows how too use the tools do the parts I cannot.

      Congratulations on making it to the Front Page! Very creative an' most deserving!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What good ideas you have for helping children explore the wonderful world of wood working. I remember making little ships that would never float with wood scraps of my Dad's as he worked on projects, he knew it wouldn't work but let me have the fun of trying and trying again. There's just something about that hands on experience...you brought back memories of my 7th grade wood shop days. Congratulations on your purple star!

    • treehousebrando1 profile image

      treehousebrando1 4 years ago

      I made some neat things as a kid in wood shop class!

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 4 years ago

      this is inspiring to get my son onto - thanks

    • profile image

      AnindaPramanik 4 years ago

      Oh,,,,, Great work ....

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Great article that makes woodworking possible for everyone. Thank you for publishing it.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 4 years ago

      I haven't done any projects yet, but I just may now, after reading this lens. Great lens!

    • danadavies lm profile image

      danadavies lm 4 years ago

      nice article! I was interested in carpentry projects for kids and I loved your article!

    • grahamcox lm profile image

      grahamcox lm 4 years ago

      I'm slightly worried about how safe workworking is for very small children. Do you think schools are aware of the dangers and follow health and safety regulations correctly? Glad to know your daughter makes her daddy wear his glasses!

    • SquidooPower profile image

      SquidooPower 4 years ago

      Really excellent topic for a lens. bravo.

    • profile image

      selvur 4 years ago

      I have a lathe that my dad bought me when I was 14, with that machine I have made 2 baseballs, and overall projects from wood, I have made a birdhouse twice, and I am kind of interested in medieval weapons, so I have made some models of old catapults that were used about 2000 years ago, and one sword. Very nice lens :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I've only painted on premade wood pieces. I think it's a great hobby though!

    • profile image

      BradKamer 4 years ago

      Introduced a simple diy wooden play car to my seven year old. No cutting or nailing necessary. Just gluing, sanding and painting. I like the idea of making a bird house for this age group.

    • psychegr profile image

      psychegr 4 years ago

      Guitars and various other things!!

    • KayeSI profile image

      KayeSI 4 years ago

      My husband was a devoted wood worker and I'm thrilled to find this lens with some basic steps for each age. I'm saving this to Pinterest to try these ideas out with my grandkids. Thank you for a fun way of passing on their grandpa's woodworking heritage!

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 4 years ago

      Very Nice Lens.

    • radhanathswamifan profile image

      radhanathswamifan 4 years ago

      Nothing really on wood

    • bushaex profile image

      Stephen Bush 4 years ago from Ohio

      Starting woodworking at the earliest possible age is definitely best.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      I love this. Every single kid on earth deserves the chance to work with their hands. Great introduction.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 4 years ago

      Great lens! I love that you are introducing your children to woodworking skills while they are young.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      Great project ideas. I will definitely be sharing this with my grandkids. Blessings!

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 5 years ago

      Woodworking is a lot of fun. Great lens.

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      What a wonderful collection of ideas!

    • ryokomayuka profile image

      ryokomayuka 5 years ago from USA

      I used to nail wood together. I never have done much but I did have that machine in the first picture when I have little. Great and informative lens

    • profile image

      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Great lens! Well done

    • Slevara profile image

      Slevara 5 years ago

      Thank you for this lens! I love that you gave projects for kids at different stages of development.

    • daedrea lm profile image

      daedrea lm 5 years ago

      This is a great page. I am going to add this to my Money Making Ideas for Kids and Teens as a feature page. One of the ideas I gave is for kids to try Etsy and how to do that. This page would be a great complement for kids interested in working with wood to earn some money.

    • profile image

      tutors091 5 years ago

      Just wondering, Is it safe though? Does going through all the stages mentioned above automatically means kid learn it safely?

    • profile image

      asteria 5 years ago

      Woodworking for kids, that's pretty cool

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

      I turned bowls and spindles at school

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This was one of my Favorite activities in the Scouts program!!

    • nasacc profile image

      nasacc 5 years ago

      ....I like woodworking..

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Next year my husband plans to do a tree house.

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      It will be great experience for kids to learn woodworking since young. Nice lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      Really nice, pinned to my Fun with Kids board. Nice to know about the Lowe's and Home Depot program.

    • JackieBlock profile image
      Author

      Jackie Block 5 years ago from SE Michigan

      @iijuan12: Home Depot has a similar program too. :)

    • profile image

      Actor 5 years ago

      Lovely....I am considering for my kids....thanks so much.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      My kids and I love the Lowe's Build & Grow projects.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      We live right next door to a Native carver, my daughter loves to visit and learn about wood carving.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I would like to this cool lens with my friends on Facebook, thanks for sharing.

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 5 years ago

      I've not done any projects on my own, but as a kid, I used to do a lot of them with my dad. I miss those times.

    • deckdesign profile image

      deckdesign 5 years ago

      I've built a couple of garden sheds and I built a sandbox that was shaped like a boat.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I built a simple bathouse,and that is a greatness project for kids.

      Fun too! Great lens!

    • PuttinUpWithSuzy profile image

      PuttinUpWithSuzy 5 years ago

      Great info! My dad does woodworking. I need to have him teach me. It'd be a great father-daughter bonding time.

    • profile image

      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Congratulations on mak ing Popular Pages - Featured Lenses. This is a great lens, itâs very informative! Thank you for presenting this so well and for sharing it, I like this.

    • Scotties-Rock profile image

      Clairissa 5 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      Great idea, wish I would have started my son on this when he was little. Maybe he would spend less time on the computer. :) Great lens!

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      I like the bird house kit idea.

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      I have done many projects over the years. Thank you for the ideas for use with my kids.

    • microfarmproject profile image

      microfarmproject 5 years ago

      I have done many projects over the years. Thank you for the ideas for use with my kids.

    • JackieBlock profile image
      Author

      Jackie Block 5 years ago from SE Michigan

      @cleanyoucar: And working outside makes clean-up so much easier!

    • biminibahamas profile image

      biminibahamas 5 years ago

      great stuff for kids to get involved with.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Love to do woodwork. I just never had a chance.

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      This is great for kids, especially on summer were they can learn a new craft.

    • LovelyMom77 profile image

      LovelyMom77 5 years ago

      Building wooden shelves!! It is a complex task for me.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Great lens Thanks

    • JackieBlock profile image
      Author

      Jackie Block 5 years ago from SE Michigan

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thanks for the feedback. It does look better broken up.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 5 years ago from New York

      Nice lens. The only thing I would change is to add some paragraphs to break up the wall of text. Other than that, great ways to begin getting kids interested in working with wood.