Ask anyone who has ever worked with kids and they will testify that all kids, regardless of gender or race, are eager to learn new things. Part of this is because children are bursting with energy and curiosity to explore the relatively new surroundings. Also, children have an outstanding sense of creativity and imagination. When you combine these two factors, it’s clear to understand why scientific studies have shown that children can learn new skills very quickly.
One skill that children will benefit from learning is the art of woodworking. Since woodworking requires the usage of hands, children will be able to develop their motor skills as well as their hand-eye coordination. Also, woodworking is an important work-trade which will help children to get a job when they grow up. As a result, the art of woodworking will allow children to tap into their creative side where each kid will be able to own their artistic skills while having a ton of fun in the process. Besides, woodworking is a great bonding experience as well.
However, it must be remembered that woodworking, like any activity, has its risks. From sharp tools such as saws and drills to rough material such as wood and iron bits, many hazards exist and could cause injury when woodworking. Some people, as a result, might be hesitant when teaching young kids about woodworking. That’s why here are some tips on woodworking with children.
Use the right tools
Contrary to popular belief, you should let children use real tools when woodwork. This means no plastic play tools. Many hardware stores offer smaller and lighter but still fully functioning manual tools such as screwdrivers and hammers that are suited for children. Also, with supervision, feel free to let children follow your grasp on increasingly difficult tools such as electrically driven rotary saws and table saws after they have a better knowledge of woodworking safety procedures.
Use the right materials
Any experienced woodworker knows that certain materials are easier to use than others while completing a project or craft. This is due to many factors for the materials such as texture, size, shape and so on. Therefore you should use materials that are easy to work with when woodworking with children.
For example, you should use treated and softwood varieties when woodworking with children. This is due to two reasons. The first reason is that by using softwood varieties, such as pine or cedar, it will be easier for children to shape which will reduce the risk of kids overpowering themselves and losing their grip on their equipment which in turn reduces the risk of injuries that could occur. The second reason is that by using treated wood such as sheets of wood that has been previously smoothed with sandpaper, it will reduce the risk of a child getting injured from getting a piece of the splintered wood lodge into their body.
Another material tip for woodworking with children is to choose nails with large heads. This is because nails with large heads are easier for children to hammer into the wood. Likewise, screws with large and deep screw holes in their heads should also be used. This is because screws with large and deep screw holes in their heads are easier to screw into the wood by children using their screwdrivers. Make sure a vise permanently attached to the workbench to hold the wood in place when sawing.
Use the right location
A clean and proper workplace is a safe workplace. Ideally, you should have around 3 to 4 children per work table. Adding on to this, the ideal ratio of children to woodworking supervisor should also be 3 or 4 kids to the woodworker. This is so the woodworker can carefully supervise each child to make sure that they are using their tools and materials correctly and safely. Of course, the workplace when woodworking with children should be clean and well organized. Make sure of this by not having any mess lying around, making sure that all items are in properly labelled containers, electrical sockets and electrical tools are a safe distance away from any workbenches, and that the main workbench is in a visible area where all the children can see the woodworker working on a demonstration and that the woodworker can see all the children working on their crafts or projects.