You and your preschooler can construct a wood project together.

Preschool Lesson Plans on Carpenter Tools

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Your preschooler might watch as you use a carpenter’s tools to repair things around the house. Or, perhaps you build projects as a gift or for personal use. You can teach your child about woodworking tools, and help him understand safety when he helps you with a woodworking project. Use his toy woodworking tools when you can, and make sure your child knows that grownup woodworking tools are only for adults, not for preschoolers.

1. Fastenings and Tools

Screws, nails, tacks, bolts and staples are the tools carpenters commonly use to connect pieces of wood together. Children younger than 4 can use a toy carpenter’s bench made of plastic that goes along with plastic screws, bolts, nails or pegs, screwdriver, hammer and wrenches. Four- and 5-year-old kids can use child-sized tools, according to the Child Care Lounge. Show your little one the tools you use. Say to your little one, “The points on real nails, screws and screwdrivers can hurt you. Only use your tools and not mine.” Allow your older preschooler to hammer and screw fasteners into a ceiling tile or a pegboard. Show her how fasteners hold things together.

2. Safety Tools

You can demonstrate safety by using safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, a carpenter's apron and a tool belt. You can get your child a set of safety goggles when he watches you use carpenter's tools. Emphasize that she needs to use safety items every time she uses these tools. Set a good example by using yours. Compare the weight of your kitchen apron with the weight of a carpenter's apron to show your little one how the carpenter's apron protects your body. You can also compare an oven mitt with a carpenter's gloves. These comparisons will show your child how important it is to use the correct tools for the job.

3. Measuring Tools

Carpenters know that it is important to measure something precisely, and not to be careless when measuring. A precise measurement makes a difference as to whether a piece of wood fits snugly or if the finished project doesn't fit properly. Demonstrate how to use a pencil, pen, square, protractor, compass, level, ruler, straight edge and measuring tape. Your preschooler can handle most of these tools in a safe manner. She can help you measure and mark a piece of wood, and she can draw a straight line using a straight edge or ruler. Using a carpenter's level, she can determine if a piece of furniture sits unevenly or if it is level. You can show her how to use a compass or protractor to create curves and circles.

4. Cutting Tools

Many carpentry tools that cut wood and other materials are dangerous for a small child. You can talk about knives, chisels, scissors and various saws to create components for a carpentry projects. Explain, “I keep these tools sharp because a dull tool is dangerous and can damage your project.” Show your child how quickly a sharp tool can cut into a piece of wood. Tell your child, “Never play with any of these tools. I want you to stay safe. I place these tools in a safe place so no one can accidentally hurt themselves or damage a tool.”

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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