The best real tools for kids
I tend to research a lot before buying anything…a little too much perhaps!
I like to make sure that I’m buying something quality, at a good price and that I’ve exhausted any possible second-hand options first.
When I started my hunt for affordable real tools for kids I stumbled at the first (most obvious) hurdle…anything designed for kids is triple the price!
So, I want to share with you some of the things I learnt while putting together the perfect and affordable toolset for kids…
Why real tools for kids are great investments
The thought of kids using real tools can be a little nerve-wracking for some parents.
However, using real tools from a young age can be great for kids.
Not only do children using real tools learn important practical skills, but they also develop confidence in their abilities.
Designing and creating something with just a few pieces of wood can help kids to develop a growth mindset (the knowledge that perseverance and effort pays off).
Real tools for kids may be ‘dangerous’ if used incorrectly but I’m of the belief that children should be given opportunities to show us (and themselves) what they are capable of.
Teaching children to build and mend is such a valuable skill and it’s really important to our family as we continue on our self sufficiency journey.
Real toolsets for children make great non-toy gifts that can be used for years to come.
How to introduce real tools to kids?
So, here’s how I introduced my kids to real tools:
Set some clear rules.
- It’s important that kids understand that tools aren’t toys.
- Talk together about what rules might help keep everyone safe e.g. placing tools on the bench when not in use.
Make sure they’re in the right mood
- You know your kids…don’t use real tools if they’re having an off day or are too tired.
- Choose a time when you’re feeling calm too.
- One-to-one sessions may work better to begin with.
Learn to use each tool separately.
- Don’t let them loose on an entire kids tool box all at once!
- Give your child time to explore a tool before they start using it.
- Talk about what it’s for and how it works.
- Ask them to point out potential dangers like sharp edges.
- Give them a demo of how to use it safely.
- My eldest child’s first time with a hammer was at a few years old when he simply nailed into the top of a big log.
- Older children might enjoy some nail art as a way of perfecting their skills.
Use real tools for kids
- A child will struggle to use adult tools due to their size and weight so using real tools for kids will mean that they’re far more likely to enjoy themselves.
The best real tools for kids
I wanted a toolset that would:
- actually work well.
- last for years.
- be light-enough for a child to handle.
Thankfully, I spoke to some people in the know and we put together the perfect set for our four year old to unwrap this Christmas!
So, here’s what’s in my child’s real tool set…
I’ve also put together a few woodworking kits that will teach him some important woodwork skills and hopefully inspire him to get creative!
Some links may be affiliate but look for second hand or shop locally first.
Instead of spending five times the price on a kids hammer I went for an adults stubby hammer. It’s small and light and perfect for little hands.
Kids Hand Drill
This is actually the only “kids” item in my real kids tools set.
There is no way my four year old would manage to hold a full-size hand drill so this was a good option along with some drill bits.
Hand drills are great because they make fixing wood together much easier than it’d be witha hammer and nail.
You can also make some pretty cool stuff with just a drill.
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Easy to source second hand or you may even have a few spares around the house.
A 6 or 12 inch spirit level is handy if your child will be making shelves or frames.
A tape measure that’s small enough for little hands to grip is an essential piece of kit.
Unless you have some clamps in your tool shes then it’s worth adding some to your kids real tool set.
It makes cutting wood far easier and safer.
Small Wood Saw
You’ll want a short saw (also known as a toolbox saw) for cutting straight lines.
This is the one we have. It’s 350mm (14 inches) so it’s great for my son to use when he’s making something like a bird box.
A hacksaw is ideal for cutting light materials and wood that isn’t firmly secured.
A mixed set of wood screws will mean that you can complete a number of projects.
What kit is complete without a carpenter’s pencil!?
A Work Bench
If you have the space then your little carpenter will love his or her own workbench.
We don’t have the space so our woodwork projects take place on the garden table (it’s only been sawed through once!)
I have grand ambitions of DIYing a kids workbench from an old table…aa usual Pinterest is full of inspiration!
Ready-Made Kids Real Toolset
If you’d prefer a kit that’s already been put together then take a look at these…
Kids Stanley Toolset
This 10 piece kit includes 2 screwdrivers, file, hand saw, goggles, clamp, tape measure, ruler and work belt.
Hi-Spec Kids Toolset
This is a big set which includes clamps, googles and even a wooden mallet.
So, that’s a full list of tools my child has in his toolbox.
Research before you purchase anything and only buy tools that you’re comfortable with your child using.
If you’re nervous about your child using real tools then you could pop along to a local woodworking club or forest school to learn the basics.
What do you think are the best real tools for kids?