One of my favorite memories in kindergarten was ‘wood shop’. We made projects with scrap wood, hammer and nails. Schools can’t provide wood working activities due to safety reasons; here are safe, child-friendly preschool wood shop learning center activities.
Many preschools and elementary schools set up learning centers for children to explore different concepts. In the woodshop or building area, preschool teachers usually resort to providing only plastic toy tools for children. These tools are fun for children to play with, but they really don’t learn much about wood-working or tool safety. To set up a preschool woodshop learning center, a teacher must first educate students about safety.
The preschool woodshop learning center should make safety glasses available to protect eyes; children should be required to wear safety glasses when they work. Providing work gloves will help prevent injuries also. Children love to dress up, so be sure to provide several pocket tool aprons.
While it isn’t practical to use real saws, children can use other small tools. A tack hammer, heavy plastic hammer or small wooden mallet gives children valuable practice in learning to operate a hammer safely. In place of wood and nails, set out golf tees and pieces of styrofoam in your wood shop; children can pound golf tees into styrofoam to simulate nailing wood pieces together. Use recycled styrofoam pieces from old coolers, surfboards and packing materials. Remember the packing peanuts, too.
To practice carving and cutting skills in your preschool learning center woodshop, children can use plastic knives and bars of soap. This will give them the idea of sawing wood, without the danger of getting splinters or cutting themselves. To practice drilling, provide children with a hand drill, also called a bit and brace. You can usually find or borrow an inexpensive vise. Children will love putting pieces of styrofoam in the vise to hold it secure while they work. If your preschool learning center has plastic tools or a work bench, it will have plastic vise for children to use.
To buy child-sized tools, visit Montessori Services here. Another resource for realistic child-sized tools was the Handy Andy tool set. These tittle tool sets were completely usable hand tools, made of metal and wood, that came in a metal or wooden tool kit. I found a set for my boys when they were young, but now Handy Andy tools are collectibles. Homeschoolers may want to look check the Ebay link attached, to buy vintage Handy Andy tool sets. For more on preschool learning centers, visit me at my linked blogs.