Best Kid Projects??

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Forum topic by Kevin Wells posted 05-29-2013 02:36 PM 3527 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Kevin Wells

28 posts in 2013 days

05-29-2013 02:36 PM

Topic tags/keywords: kids woodworking plans

My nephew loves to go out to the workshop when he comes over. We usually take a few hours and build something together. The last round was to turn a slimline pen (closely supervised, I maintained positive control of the gouges etc). Anyway, I was wondering what projects (outside of the usual birdhouse or build a box) have you found that work great with kids exploring woodworking? I’d like to keep 3 or 4 projects ready to go (plan ready, major cuts done, pieces stacked ready to go). I’d prefer to keep things in the hand tool arena or if power tools are needed, then it would be steps I could do before he comes over.


-- Kevin, Chuckin' Wood,

20 replies so far

View Gary's profile


9376 posts in 3608 days

#1 posted 05-29-2013 02:52 PM

I have that same problem with a couple of grandsons. But my decision is based on their age. The youngest of course only uses very limited tools, no power. The older is just now starting to use power but, I hover over him like a mother hen. I think age, safety awareness, and abilities are at least 3 factors to consider

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Oldtool's profile


2732 posts in 2365 days

#2 posted 05-29-2013 03:09 PM

I helped my grandson with “dime hockey” games for sale at a children’s craft fair. Details can be found at:

Have fun.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View ChrisK's profile


2004 posts in 3256 days

#3 posted 05-29-2013 04:13 PM

You can pre-cut small catapults or trebuchets. Trucks, planes and boats work with boys as well.

-- Chris K

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2660 days

#4 posted 05-29-2013 04:25 PM

My daughter and I made a birdhouse the other day. She’s only three, so the patience for dovetails, M & T joints isn’t exactly there yet. What she does enjoy is hammering nails, which basically involves her barely tapping them with a little rubber mallet. So she “helped” me nail pieces of 1/2” ply together (pre-cut to shape on the table saw). I primed it the other day and soon I’ll buy some paint so she and I can put some color on it and hang it from the back porch.

-- Brian Timmons -

View AandCstyle's profile


3170 posts in 2432 days

#5 posted 05-30-2013 12:46 AM

Maybe a marble roll like this one? I also like the trebuchet mentioned previously.

-- Art

View MrsN's profile


987 posts in 3701 days

#6 posted 05-30-2013 04:29 PM

it really helps if you can build something that relates to kids other interests.
a box or display case for hotwheels cars, Stand or dock for tablet or phone, Video Game stand or organizer, lego table or box, coat rack for kids room or other room furniture, lamps are useful, i made a cool wooden breifcase with my dad to hold my kenex sets

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4300 days

#7 posted 05-30-2013 06:07 PM

Last time my nephews came to visit, we built vehicles. Box of off-cuts, the ability to cut planks to length (I think I let the elder push the track saw while I had one hand on it, but both were okay with “Uncle Dan or Grandpa Andy need to make this cut”), drill press for the holes (gets ‘em used to “clamp all the work pieces”, they still get to pull the lever that moves the tools), and a bag of wheels and screws.

We bought some wheels ready made from Michael’s, the other wheels came from a circle cutter on the drill press.

We could also easily use a Forstner bit in a drill press to put in places for either those wood “people” stand-in pegs (Googling “wooden people peg” brings up a bunch of ‘em) or “Fisher-Price Little People” (which were made of wood and way way cooler when I was a kid).

I’m gonna go visit with the nephews at my parents place this summer. I think it’d be awesome if the eldest is up to building a small boat, but he’s probably not old enough and big enough to do long plywood rips on the pull-saw yet (even if it is ¼”), and we’d let my Dad do the chine logs on the table saw. Everything else is drill/driver and glue territory, maybe with a little block plane action.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 2067 days

#8 posted 05-30-2013 07:14 PM

Those are some really good ideas there from MrsN.

More ideas – get them started on:
- their own tool box! (see
- a custom LEGO carrying case (with different compartments for different parts)
- their first kitchen chopping board
- a chisel mallet – for the workshop if you don’t have one
- coasters!

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View stefang's profile


16064 posts in 3509 days

#9 posted 05-30-2013 07:18 PM

I think that the perfect tool for youngster to get started with is a scroll saw. It’s a very safe machine and easy to learn and it can make a host of different projects. i started with my grandkids years ago and the love making stuff with it. Most kids lose their focus pretty fast as soon as any boring work comes along. This is not the case with a scroll saw, as they have to stay fully engaged while working with one.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View madts's profile


1872 posts in 2514 days

#10 posted 05-30-2013 09:50 PM

Rat trap race cars. Down and dirty. Plus they learn about watching their fingers.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View madts's profile


1872 posts in 2514 days

#11 posted 05-30-2013 09:52 PM

Make puzzles. There are a lot just on this forum.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View DrDirt's profile


4492 posts in 3917 days

#12 posted 05-30-2013 10:06 PM

Well from watching Roy Underhill entertain last summer – - you could have him make a quarterpounder…. !

You give it as a gift in a McDonalds Box.!

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View jackthelab's profile


313 posts in 2868 days

#13 posted 05-30-2013 10:41 PM

I used to make puzzles with the kids. Find a coloring page that interests your nephew – maybe a dinosaur or something like that. Trace the outline of the design on a board and use a jig saw to cut it out. Then cut the outlined piece into 5-6 other pieces or however many that would work out with the board. You can woodburn on it or paint it. Easy to do and the patterns are easy to find.

-- Dave in Minnesota - If it ain't broke, improve it!

View TerryDowning's profile


1102 posts in 2292 days

#14 posted 05-30-2013 11:03 PM

Remember to take the time to teach them about tool safety and tool maintenance for specific tools.

Before Dad would let me use a new tool he would teach me all about it, before I could use it I had to recite the safety rules for that tool, and demonstrate proper maintenance of the tool.

For examples Chisels
Never have the fingers in front of the chisel
Never put the edge to anything that isn’t wood and you don’t want to cut.
Never force the tool (Let the tool do the work) I still struggle with this one n practice. I can still hear my Dad’s voice n my head “Gently, Gently”
I had to demonstrate properly sharpening and stropping a chisel and properly storing a chisel.

Only then was I allowed to start using a tool. This is the manner in which my Dad was taught and the manner I taught my children. Dad’s Dad was a tradesman (Carpenter/Joiner and Paper Hanger/Painter)

We started with hand tools and then moved up to power tools. Some of my early projects include:
Building Blocks (measuring, marking, handsaws and basic finishing)
Puzzles (Coping Saw use)
Car holders (block plane, chisels, saws, marking measuring etc.)
Everyone needs to build at least one spice rack in their life.
Candle Holders, etc.

Once I graduated to power tools, I made many of the same projects again just using power tools instead of hand tools.

-- - Terry

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8506 posts in 2503 days

#15 posted 05-30-2013 11:17 PM

penny hockey boards are fun.

if he’s a teenager, make a pair of loud speakers.

build a muzzle loader from a kit.

a cutting board he can give his mom for mothers day.

a chess board would be fun.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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