Check out 5 fun and easy ways to teach kids DIY skills and tool safety. If you’re a do-it-yourself parent, chances are your kids have seen you with a hammer in your hand. And time spent tinkering around the house is a golden opportunity, as it can be the perfect time to teach kids DIY skills. Skills that will give them a sense of independence and autonomy that can help them throughout their lives.
Plus, teaching kids to use tools properly (and safely) isn’t just convenient, useful, and challenging. It’s also FUN!
5 tips for teaching children to craft
When doing chores around the house, rather than chasing the kids out of the work area, try inviting them in! Beyond teaching time, it will allow your family to spend time together, even during weekends when you are immersed in a big DIY project. For the little ones, you can simply buy nuts online and let them play with them: they can screw and unscrew the nuts on the screws while having fun and developing their fine motor skills!
1. Let them get dirty!
Children are often told NOT to get dirty, so if you give them the opportunity and encourage them to do something that is generally forbidden, they will be very eager to learn whatever you want to teach them.
- Do you paint? Give them a brush.
- Are you sanding furniture? Give them a piece of sandpaper.
- Do you do landscaping? Give them a shovel.
There’s no better way to teach kids DIY skills than to throw them in the thick of it and let them do tricks, mess, and everything!
Designate them a special “work outfit”: give them a set of work clothes, just like mom and/or dad. Show them the paint stains on your favorite jumpsuit and let them know they can put some on their outfit too.
When painting, let your kids go crazy over walls, furniture, anything at the start of the process. This way mom and dad can then even out the wild brush strokes with the paint roller after the paint party is over.
And they love doing something REAL even more, like grown-ups do, with grown-up tools. And the messy part is a happy bonus.
2. Choose a project that concerns them
Let’s face it, kids are great. But they are kind of ego-maniacs in the mildest sense of the word. The world sort of revolves around them, and they know it. Embrace this reality when trying to involve them in DIY projects.
Are you working on bookcases for his new “big boy” bedroom? Have the big boy help dad measure and carry the shelves through space after they’ve been cut. He can then help Mom level the shelves as they are installed. The possibilities for involving them in chores and teaching kids DIY skills are truly endless.
3. Involve them in the planning process
Most things in a child’s life are beyond their control. So when we allow them to own part of the planning process for a project, they take it and run.
If you redecorate their room, ask their opinion! Ask them to write down some ideas of things they would like to see in their space. Colors, theme, etc. And then actually USE their input to create something they love!
4. Teach them how to use DIY tools
Children are great imitators. And they watch and pick up almost everything. So when they see you using a crescent wrench on nuts, they’ll want to try it too, even at a very young age.
Consider getting them a set of play tools for younger children. Tool kits/tool sets are great when kids are very young (I would say 3-4 and under). After this stage, children often prefer to turn to REAL tools.
So teach them how to use the tools. But never let your kids run around with screwdrivers, handsaws, etc. from when they are three years old. Not at all. They must be supervised each time the tools are taken out.
Encourage them to learn how to use certain tools, but always be there to keep a close eye on what’s going on. “Real” tools can be heavy and unpredictable when controlled by small hands, so supervision is key.
The first tools children can work with are hammers, rubber mallets, sanding blocks, screwdrivers (non-electric), paintbrushes and rollers, wrenches, pliers, rakes, shovels, tape measures -ribbons…
5. Crafting with children takes time
Involving children is certainly not the most effective way to carry out a project. It will slow you down. But it is worth spending time and energy on the process. Sometimes it’s good to stop, breathe and realize that this is what we are meant to do… teach these little beings life skills that will allow them to grow into functioning and productive members of society!
Girls who can lay tiles, boys can build a library. Or at the very least learn to use Allen keys so they can put together dressers or furniture when they get their first apartment, right?