Ideas please - simple wooden craft item for children

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Forum topic by YorkshireStewart posted 04-13-2012 07:15 PM 7713 views 2 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1130 posts in 3929 days

04-13-2012 07:15 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question craft children easy kids

Each year the museum where I’m voluntary curator runs a series of six craft mornings for children during July and August. Last year I provided just one of the many activities; I prepared ‘kits’ from planed 4” x 1” that the children could assemble. Under my close supervision, they hammered nails through the pre-drilled holes & were soon the proud owners of their little bird nest box that they were able to paint with acrylics.

The venture was a massive success. The word got around the town & folks were queuing before opening time to claim a ‘golden ticket’ that entitled them to one of the limited number of bird boxes. I ended up preparing over fifty kits which was nowhere near enough to satisfy everyone.

What I’m getting around to is asking for ideas for a simple wooden item that will, this year, take less preparation time and wood, and yet give the young participants enough to do so they think they’ve achieved something. Over to you!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

26 replies so far

View Gareth00's profile


21 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 04-13-2012 07:43 PM

Steve at Woodworking for Mere Mortals does lots of really good fun builds appropriate for kids.

Have a look at this one or one of his many others.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#2 posted 04-13-2012 08:19 PM

Hi Stuart. Personally I think the birdhouses are hard to beat as a project for kids. My only suggestion would be something pre-cut that they could just paint. We did a lot of that when our grandkids were smaller at Christmas. I stack cut a selection of ornaments and they painted them. How about something like wind chimes? Those are nice summer projects and simple to make with some dowels or cutouts, string and a piece of wood to hang them from.

This is a nice idea to get the youngsters interested in crafts and I admire you for actively making this possible for them. Good work.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 04-13-2012 08:42 PM

I once made a kit to build a bird feeder to be assembled by a blind teen. (with help). I think bird feeders make a better project than a bird house. Bird feeders will keep the child’s interest in the wild creatures every time they fill it with food and then watching the birds feed throughout the year rather than just in the spring nesting time when a bird house is active.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

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5849 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 04-13-2012 08:59 PM

A great idea anda great deal of thought and efforet for our future generations I really admire you on this one well done Stewart.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3929 days

#5 posted 04-13-2012 08:59 PM

Am I glad I asked the question! In just a couple of hours I have already got some great ideas to follow up – ‘food for thought’. Thanks very much folks!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3910 days

#6 posted 04-13-2012 09:08 PM

Hey Stewart, what a wonderful thing you do.

Hmmm, wood project with less wood. Not a lot to work with, but something that takes less of your time.

I also like the idea of bird feeders. We so enjoy ours, and the grandkids have helped fill them all year long. The gift that keeps on giving.

Looking a the Google, I had a couple of ideas. Not all wood, but more recycle oriented.

Or something like that,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3096 days

#7 posted 04-13-2012 09:30 PM

Stewart -

Since you’re from across the pond, you may not have the issues we have in the colonies when it comes to making toys, etc, for kids.

Thanks to our overprotective consumer product safety laws, many of us are very leery about making toys that would be sold (or even given) to kids. In theory, we would each need to send our products to a test facility to ensure that our finishes, etc don’t contain any toxics which could harm the rug rats. Since these tests can cost in the hundreds (or thousands) of dollars, it becomes cost prohibitive for any but the biggest toymakers to do this.

I don’t have any direct experience with this, but know of several pro (and amatuer) woodworkers who have quit making kids toys because of the potential liability.

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View funchuck's profile


119 posts in 3085 days

#8 posted 04-13-2012 10:51 PM

How about a small planter box? It’s just a box that can be nailed together, and the kids can use it to grow plants, or use it as a storage container. I have seen some that had a clear acrylic window so you can see the roots of the plant too.

Some type of board game might work too. Maybe something simple like a tic tac toe set?

-- Charles from California

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2718 days

#9 posted 04-14-2012 02:01 AM

Bird feeders and squirrel (do you have squirrels?) feeders are always a big hit. I applaud your efforts with the kids. The birdhouses were obviously a big success. Perhaps you could recruit someone to help you make the parts?

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2405 days

#10 posted 04-14-2012 02:36 AM

What about the Theodore The tug Toat concept?
Out to 2×4 cut it in to a pointed boat shape.
Glue blocks, cylinder (chimeys) and poles on it and paint.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2674 days

#11 posted 04-14-2012 02:54 AM

trinket box

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View BilltheDiver's profile


255 posts in 2913 days

#12 posted 04-14-2012 04:36 AM

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3929 days

#13 posted 04-14-2012 07:51 AM

While I slept, ideas kept coming in; what a marvellous community is Lumberjocks! Thanks all. I’ll weigh these up & do some ‘dummy runs’ over the next weeks.


-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3362 days

#14 posted 04-14-2012 12:02 PM

Another idea Stuart: A WISHING WELL PLANTER.

This is a project I did as a cub scout. It was for my mother and she kept it for many years with a vine plant in it. It looked great and I was very proud of it.

Very easy for a young child to make, providing you can find suitable cans or plastic containers for the well part. The wooden parts are very easily cut and can even be stack cut. Holes for the fasteners could be pre-drilled.

The sizes mentioned are just based on my memory so you would have to make a drawing to get pleasing proportions.


1. (1)-1/2lb coffee can or comparable
2, (2)- 1/2” sq. X 5” long wood posts (to support the roof) and cut to the appropriate roof angles at top end.

3. (2) 3-1/2” X 2- 1/2” X 1/4” thick wooden roof pieces.
4. 1/8” diameter brown soft twine.


1. Wrap the twine around the can, the posts, and the roof pieces to cover the entire outside surfaces. Fasten the ends with hot glue or something else that works.

2. Screw the posts opposite each other against the inside wall of the can. Make sure the angles on the top end of the posts are in the correct orientation.

3. Attach the roof pieces to the posts and you’re done!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roz's profile


1699 posts in 3814 days

#15 posted 04-14-2012 01:40 PM

Great ideas all! What about small wooden signs/labels on stakes that the kids can write the names of plants they grow from seed? The head could be made from pieces of lattice or paint stir stick.

I do think a bird or squirrel feeder is the best choice

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

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