Dan has been a homeowner for some 40 years and has nearly always done his own repair and improvement tasks. He is a licensed electrician.
Easy wood craft kits and projects for kids
Wooden craft projects are a wonderful way for kids to produce something; to create something of their own.
Most children are aching to build something themselves and are always eager and proud to show it to Mom and Dad, especially if it is something to be used around the house. There is little to compare with the pride of a small (or older) child that has worked hard to make something "all by themselves", even if Mom and Dad help out and provide guidance.
Wood craft kits or projects can fill this desire for many children. They help smaller children with dexterity and with attention span. Older children can add their own designs via paint or drawings on projects, exercising their creativity.
Wood crafts for the younger kids
There are many simple wood projects for smaller children, ranging from a napkin holder or toolbox (pictured below) to toys for them to play with after finishing their work.
These simple kits need only a few simple tools to work with, but even those few tools can help teach children the value and use of such tools. Most homes will already have the tools necessary in the homeowners tool kit, but if not such tools as screwdrivers or hammers are not expensive, and once purchased can often last through many, many wood projects.
Kids just beginning with wood projects need to have something very simple, possibly beneath their normal skill level, to build confidence. While an 8 year old is capable of far more than simply gluing a few pieces of wood together to produce the napkin holder shown, it might make a good beginning anyway. Quick and easy, the children learn a few basics and that they can make wooden crafts. I helped two of my grandchildren, aged 9, make a toolbox for their dads on fathers day - at about 2 hours that was the limit of their attention span.
As skill level and understanding grows, the complexity of simple wood kits can and should be expanded into something that may take several hours or even days. At the same time, take care not to provide projects that overextend the kids attention span. If they become too bored and feel it isn't worth several days work they will become discouraged and lose interest.
Your child will need a workspace for their wood craft project. At this level, the kitchen table is probably sufficient, with some protective covering. Newspapers, or perhaps an old blanket. You can expect them to be using sandpaper and glue at a minimum and it can be messy. Using a hammer on the kitchen table is probably not a good idea, however!
Wooden projects for younger kids
Wooden projects for older children
As your children grow older and gain skills they didn't have when younger the range of possibilities increases. Woodburning kits are a possibility, as are more advanced wood construction kits.
The tool set needed for more advanced work will expand as well. Simple power tools such as a drill, electric screwdriver or a Dremel tool may be appropriate, depending on age and capability. Coping or other hand saws may be necessary. Certainly a hammer.
Along with more advanced tools is a more dedicated workspace. While a temporary workbench may be set up in a garage or empty basement, consider a folding workbench such as the Black and Decker Workmate. These small workbenches may be folded for storage, may have different heights available and contain a vise arrangement to hold workpieces.
Older children can learn to use books and plans to make their wood projects, increasing the variety of what they can construct. You might consider a simple book of plans with some raw materials; let them pick their own wooden project from the plans and start from scratch instead of pre-cut pieces. The wooden projects exhibited at county fairs and constructed by children and young teens are often astounding in their beauty and quality. We just need to give them a chance.
Wood projects for older children
Wood projects for older children
© 2011 Dan Harmon
Robin Ritchey on August 08, 2019:
Thank you for the napkin holder idea. I have a challenged niece coming to visit. We make something while she visits. This is a perfect project for her to make. I now have to think this project though and prepare everything for her limitations. Again, thank you for the idea.
Johnb284 on April 28, 2014:
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Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on January 03, 2013:
The base is 6.5 X 8.5 and the top piece is 2 X 8.5. The dowels are 1/4", spaced 7.25 center to center. Holes in the top piece, where the dowels slide through, are 5/16. Material was 1X pine, although any type of 1X would work fine of course. I don't see any reason a 1X8 could not be used for the base and left full width.
Hope that helps!
Ditty76 on January 02, 2013:
I have been looking for plans for this napkin holder...I wanted to do this project with my Webelos 2 Den...Any suggestions on where I might find it?
Dan on January 02, 2013:
I would like to make that napkin holder with my Webelos 2's but I cannot find plans for it anywhere...Any help would be appreciated!!!
Dan Harmon (author) from Boise, Idaho on October 07, 2011:
Yes, that napkin holder is a perennial favorite. My son made that one as a small child; he is now 32, so it's been around for a while.
Woodworking really is a great hobby for kids; simple and easy, yet as complex as you want to make it. A variety of projects for any age.
Allen Williams from Pennsylvania on October 07, 2011:
Good information. This hub caught my eye because of the picture of the napkin holder. Both of my children (now adults themselves) have made an identical napkin holder as one of their first wood shop projects in school. They are both in use today. It is a great way to build their confidence level. Good hub, I voted it up and useful.