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Kids are naturally creative. With them always learning, changing and doing new things, creativity is a natural byproduct. It’s who they are. However, the one thing that kids may value even more than making things is spending time with family. Woodworking is a hobby that can carry throughout a lifetime. It’s an excellent opportunity to introduce a child to something that they can do with you and learn a valuable new skill that can benefit them later in life — whether they work with wood again or not.
By creating tangible things with their own hands, overcoming obstacles and learning how things work, kids will also be building other things such as their self-esteem and confidence. This valuable time spent together with them will be long remembered as they look back fondly on those times spent together, building something that they can keep for years to come.
Woodworking might seem like a dangerous hobby for a child, but with proper supervision and safety equipment it can be fun and rewarding. Below, are some suggested projects that appeal not only to a child’s creative side but that are practical and relatively straightforward.
A logical place to start would be a toolbox. This can be relatively quick and simple, and at the end of it all, your child will be able to properly store his or her tools as the collection grows. The classic open design of a rectangular bottom and two sides, two “A” shaped ends with a wooden dowel handle across the top is an easy choice to begin with.
A bird house is another great starter project. It can be as complicated as your child’s skill level dictates. Birdhouses are not only fun to build, but you’ll also be creating a home that birds will enjoy for generations. As your child grows, they will be constantly reminded of the time spent building it, when they see it set up in a prominent place in the yard. Birdhouse kits are also available, which are excellent introductory projects that require little to no cutting.
What kind of other hobbies does your child already have? Fishing? Baseball? They can build a rack to hold their fishing poles, baseball bats or even their ball caps.
As their skill grows, have them assist you in larger projects such as building bookshelves.
An excellent project for the summer is to build a set of picnic tables and benches. Once the project is finished, seal them with a weatherproof finish and they will last for years. In fact, when your child someday (and it will happen, someday) grows up and moves out, they may want to take the set with them.
Introducing a child to woodworking not only teaches him or her problem-solving skills and patience, it teaches them other things that they will use in life. Real world applications for math and measurement, for example. The concept of “measure twice, cut once” is something that can carry over into many other aspects of life.