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Getting kids involved in junior carpentry

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Beyond toy hammers

If your spring home improvement projects include hammering, sawing, and nuts and bolts, you have ready made assistants in your kids. While you might not want to let them help with the finish carpentry, kids love to construct and build and put things together - so why not build in ways for that to happen as you build your new cabinets?

Little Boy with Safety Glasses

It can be hard manage kids while you are working on home improvement projects. While it might be fastest in terms of the project - and sometimes safest - to have the kids well-away while you work, if you can find a safe and appropriate way for your kids to help you out a little (even if they can't help with everything), not only will your kids learn something, and you'll get work done on your project, but you'll likely both have a lot of fun.

Smaller tools

When you figure out how a child can help with a real project, you also need to make sure you have appropriately sized tools and are teaching safety as well. Some big name tool manufacturers have tapped into this and make smaller sized tools appropriate for smaller sized hands - and smaller sized safety goggles for smaller sized faces. When a full-sized hammer it too unweildy for your child's hands, leading to a not quite direct hit to a nail, a smaller hammer can help your child do it just right.

Math and geometry

Carpentry and simple contrstruction is also a great lesson in basic math - and more complex geometry. From counting nails and the turns of a screw to talking about angles and degrees when fitting a mortise to a tenon, a building project can be building more than a piece of furniture or a piece of a house; it can build an understanding of how shapes and planes work and fit together to create our world.

Sense of togetherness

One of the greatest things to come out of incorporating your kids into your home improvement projects is a sense of accomplishment for both of you. Even if the project takes a longer time than expected, you will have finished it, you will have taught your child some lessons in home care and maintenance, taught about persistence and follow-through, and maybe other things along the way. You will have a shared sense of accomplishment and some important family bonding. While sometimes a challenge, including your kids as your tackle home improvement projects can be great for all of you.

More on involving kids in home improvement projects:

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