These days, kids are usually glued to their smartphones, the TV or their computer. So how do you get your child away from all of these unproductive activities and get them interested in something exciting and productive? Try introducing them to kids woodworking projects and come up with a project that’s both unique and easy to do.
Beginner Woodworking Activity for Younger Children
Most adults know what an educational, fun and useful hobby woodworking really is. However, they don’t usually realize that it’s a hobby the whole family can enjoy. While woodworking may seem dangerous for a child, under adult supervision and with the proper safety equipment, this hobby can be fun and safe for all ages.
One of the easiest projects for kids are those that involve Popsicle sticks. You can usually purchase them at any hobby and craft store and they can be used to create a fun project for kids. The best part about using Popsicle sticks is that you don’t have to use a drill or saw or other type of device that would be dangerous for younger children. You can create almost anything by simply using a strong adhesive.
Creating animals using Popsicle sticks requires just a few clean sticks, animal stickers and paint and paintbrushes. Look for animal face stickers for a more whimsical look or your child can paint the face on each animal by hand. You can also use double-sided tape and hang up your child’s creations all over their bedroom or playroom.
Making wind chimes out of Popsicle sticks is also a fun project. While these wind chimes will not actually chime, they do make a beautiful piece of art that can hang from the corner of their bedroom. To do, you’ll need about fifty sticks, strong adhesive, sequins, glitter and beads. You’ll also need to use some strong thread or string, a circular, flat piece of wood that’s about eight inches in diameter and some sandpaper. Small hooks can be applied to the circular piece, a step which should be done by an adult. These hooks are what will hold the chimes. Use ten sticks to create a star. Grab a piece of paper and draw some stars and begin placing the sticks on the edges of each one. Next, the tips should be glued together where the sticks meet, until you have used up all of the ten sticks. Repeat this technique to complete the rest of the stars. You should have a total of five stars. Now, the stars can be decorated using sequins, beads and glitter. Cut varying lengths of thread or string making each star hang at a different height. Next, put the thread across the hooks that have been attached to the wooden disc. You’ll need to place another hook at the top of the disc to hang it. If your child wants the chimes to actually chime you can attach small bells on one edge of each star.
To make a lantern using Popsicle sticks, you’ll need stickers and felt pens for decoration, glue, wax paper and a ton of Popsicle sticks. Glue together four sticks at the tips of each to make a square, making a total of four squares. Next, you’ll want to cut up the wax paper based on the square’s size. Use your glue to attach paper to the frame, folding in the edges. Once all the frames are affixed with the wax paper, your child can begin decorating them. Some parents recommend cutting out different shapes from the wax paper, such as butterflies, stars and flowers.
You’ll now need to make a base for the lantern by gluing sticks at the edges. The base will need to be as large as the four frames arranged to make a lantern. Place the frames on the base and glue them together. Once this step is complete you can use a votive candle to light your lantern.
Woodworking Program for Older Children
There are several projects to choose from when your child is around ten years of age. At this age you can teach your child how to use wood glue, sandpaper and a handsaw.
The typical traditional project for a child around this age is the classic birdhouse. This project is simple and child-friendly. Anyone that has experience with woodworking has probably built a birdhouse or two in their time. Not only are these simple to make, but their simplicity actually allows for more creative freedom. Now you can help your child to make a birdhouse that’s both beautiful and unique. There are several resources online that include free birdhouse plans if you’ve never built one before.
You can also use this time to teach your child about the proper safety techniques to use for all of the different tools involved.
If you yourself don’t have much woodworking experience, try making your first birdhouse using a birdhouse kit. These kits come with everything you need to build and decorate your child’s first birdhouse and they’re very easy to put together.
Depending on what part of the country you live in, another great project for you and your child to tackle is the bat house. The bat house features a similar design to the birdhouse but it’s much bigger and takes a little more skill to accurately build. This is a challenging and fun woodworking project for kids that you can do every season. The bat prefers living quarters that are warm and dark. A bat house should reach temperatures of at least eighty degrees during the day. In order to reach these temperatures you can cover the top of the house using black paper or cloth in order to attract more heat. Just like the birdhouse, you can also purchase a bat house kit, which comes with everything you need including paint and paintbrushes for the final touches.
Teaching Your Child or Grandchild to Love and Appreciate Woodworking
These are only a few kids woodworking projects designed for very young and older children. In order to encourage your child’s interest in this medium it’s important that you go slowly and choose a project based on their age. If you pick a project that’s too complicated for your child this will only discourage them. Focus on your child’s other interests and base your project choice on their love of animals, bird watching, sports or other outdoor activities.