Fun Fall Activities: Build a Safe Woodshop for Your Little Ones

by SafewiseSeptember 26, 2012

As the seasons change, it provides an opportunity for parents to start doing new activities with their children. Something creative and educational that would be a unique experience for the family is building an at-home woodshop. Woodworking is a life-long skill that teaches kids how to be creative, intuitive, precise, and safe.

Woodworking is fun, but it uses a lot of tools that children might not be used to being around. Before starting a project in the woodshop, it’s important to discuss safety with the little ones. Here are our top guidelines that will keep kids safe in a woodshop.
At Home Woodshop

1. Dress for the Job

When working in a woodshop, wearing the right clothes is important for safely using tools. Make sure kids don’t wear any loose clothing or dangling jewelry. Long hair should always be pulled back, away from the face.

The importance of safety glasses cannot be stressed enough. Although glasses that fit children properly may be more difficult to find, make sure you get the right size. Glasses that fit too loosely may cause more harm than good. No matter what task children are doing in the woodshop, it’s important to stress that safety glasses should always be worn to protect their eyes from flying objects or dust.

2. Keep Your Space Clean

An important part of safety is having a clean and organized environment to work in. People are more likely to have an injury if the woodshop is messy. After using a tool or finishing a project, make sure the area around where you’re working is cleaned, including the floor. Sweep leftover scraps and dust, wipe down tools and the table they’re on, and put away tools or wood you’re no longer using.

3. General Safety Rules

Although many of these rules may seem like common sense, for kids who have never been around tools or machinery before, it’s important they know the rules and understand they are put in place to keep them safe. Some good practice rules include:

  • No running in the woodshop
  • Keep tools with a sharp edge pointed down when walking
  • No throwing tools
  • No goofing around, tripping, or playing practical jokes
  • Report any broken tools
  • Report any injuries (even a splinter)

In case of injury, it’s important to have a first aid kit in the woodshop so injuries can be addressed immediately. Some things to have in a first aid kit are: varying sizes of bandages, alcohol or antiseptic wipes, eyewash and eye drops, and tweezers.

Fun Projects That Build Skills

Learning the rules of a woodshop and how to use different tools can take time. It’s important to work with kids every step of the way when they begin woodworking projects. Starting at a beginner level project is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if the adults in the woodshop don’t have much experience.

Beginning with something like a simple toolbox is a good way to get started and gives kids a chance to create something they can use everyday in the woodshop. As kids become more comfortable in the woodshop, the projects that they can do, like making a birdhouse or bookends, can be attempted safely and successfully. There are a lot of books available that offer project ideas and instructions for kids beginning woodworking, like Woodshop 101 for Kids or Woodshop for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build.

Having the right tools to begin with gives kids the option to complete any project they can imagine. Here is a shot list of some essential tools for starting a home woodshop:

  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver (Flathead and Phillips)
  • Nails and screws
  • Handsaw
  • Block plane
  • Brace drill (Hand drill)
  • Sandpaper
  • Glue
  • Clamps
  • Speed square
  • Safety glasses

Woodshops can be a place for children to express their creativity, work with their hands, and a place for the entire family to bond. The things that parents and kids create together in a woodshop are keepsakes and the memories will last a lifetime. What creations or experiences do you want to have with your family while woodworking? Are there any words of caution or safety tips you have when bringing kids into a woodshop?

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About The Author
Elli is the head of outreach at SafeWise. SafeWise is a community-focused security organization committed to home and family safety and security. Refer to SafeWise’s frequently ask questions about home security for just about every question you have related to security systems, home break-ins, security equipment, and home automation.