Watching their children grow while at the same time teaching them new skills are the moments parents cherish. Children are eager to learn, enthusiastic about developing new interests, and they long to put their personal stamp on projects they made. One of the more interesting ways that parents can foster this development and give their children the one on one attention every kid craves is to introduce them to woodworking.
Start small - Woodworking for children need not involve the use of power tools. Many projects such as building a nesting box can be completed using nothing but hand tools. A nesting box usually consists of six small pieces of wood. If working with younger children, Mom or Dad might need to cut and drill the parts in advance and let the child hammer the nails into place while providing some guidance. Working with hand tools helps children develop their motor skills and a basic project like a nesting box provides immediate results that won't tax their limited patience. If you as a parent have never built a nesting box either, several organizations offer free plans you can download and print. If you do decide to build one, make certain it will attract a bird species common to your area. Nothing will disappoint a child more than completing the project and then watching the box sit unoccupied. In other words, if you live in the desert Southwest, don't build a box designed for an eastern bluebird.
Leverage their interest - If your child is fascinated by cars, and most kids are, you can combine their love of all things automotive with woodworking by helping them build their own Pinewood Derby car. These little cars come in kit form, are very inexpensive, and can be ordered from several web based retailers. The kit comes complete with everything needed to build the car. You and your child can shape and smooth the body, attach the wheels, and stain or paint the finished product. It's a terrific way to spend time together on rainy afternoons.
Match complexity to age - As your child begins to embrace working with wood, it's important that the complexity of future projects be matched to his growing skill level. Minwax has a large group of free woodworking projects which have been broken into beginner, intermediate and advanced. You are free to download and print any or all of them. Once your child develops the skill and confidence to take on more complex woodworking projects, you and he can select projects together. And when a well executed woodworking project is completed, don't be surprised if you hear your child proudly boast; "Dad (or Mom) and I built that together." For not only will you have given your child the precious gift of your time, you'll have created a memory that will last forever.