I am hoping to make gifts for Christmas and while I have a great studio space for sewing and general crafting, our garage is the designated woodworking space. I know that just as soon as I get to work making something, my kids are usually inspired to also begin working on a project, so I wanted to set up a workspace for them in the garage as well. My mom did an excellent job of allowing us to have spaces to work and play that didn't have to be perfectly tidy and had functional tools and lots of open-ended materials. I still remember getting to use our tiny scroll saw to make dollhouse furniture and feeling so grown up. It's an awesome thing to make something from start to finish by yourself and I want my kids to have that same sense of satisfaction.
I wanted to make a space for the boys with real tools that would be a comfortable place for them to work. My workbench will be right behind them, so if they do need help, I can help them, but it's also nice for them to have a separate space.
For the workbench, I propped up an old train table that I made last year for Avery and put an old shelf on it to hold tools and hardware.
The tools are all designated for this space, so hopefully it will stay outfitted. (Though I am not making any promises about the hammer, I always lose mine!) They have a hammer, a hand drill (the same one we used as kids, I already warned them about getting pinched between the gears, I still remember that for sure!), several clamps, two little screw drivers, wire cutters, a square, tape measure, rasp, sandpaper, wood glue and various screws, bolts and nails.
An important addition is a bigger clamp to hold working pieces- it's so frustrating to try to saw something and hold it at the same time! Julian really has figured out how to use the clamp efficiently. I would like to buy a bench vise for their workbench, I find mine invaluable.
We also have a small collection of woodworking books for children-
Of course I love Toymaking with Children, but for a straight up woodworking book, the Carpentry for Children is the best bet. Lester Walker is a great writer who really writes to the kids, not to the adult who will be helping the kids. The tone of the books is very empowering yet instructional. The other book by him that we have here is Housebuilding for Children that shows kids how to build houses for themselves using several traditional building methods- including 2x4 framing and timber frame!
Of course you also need some wood-
Most of this is hardwood scraps from Berea College Woodcraft and it's actually kind of difficult for the kids to work with. I tried to pull out the poplar, it's softer than cherry and walnut, and I will be on the lookout for pine scraps.
Just as soon as I got this space set up, the boys got to work, Avery worked a bunch on hammering some little nails into the wood pieces and Julian made a sword, (one of the most common projects around here, after magic wands) and began working on a steamboat.
They spend two solid hours happily at work while I organized the rest of the garage (I am not totally done getting my space set up) and I look forward to spending more time with them this winter, working on special secret projects for family and friends!