Saturday, 5 November 2011

DIY toddler workbench

I feel like I haven't posted much recently about what activities I have been doing with Freddy (23 months) so here is one of the fun projects that I set up for him in the last few days.


Like most toddlers Freddy absolutely loves tools but it can be frustrating for him that he doesn't yet have the dexterity to use the tools in a fulfilling way.

So enter the 'Toddler DIY Workbench'.  [Do people outside of the UK know what DIY means? It's 'Do-It-Yourself'.]  Anyway, this activity is quick to put together, free and absolutely perfect for toddlers like Freddy.

The workbench has 3 activity 'sections' which I outlined in black marker to separate them and help Freddy to understand which tool goes with each part.  The three sections are:
  1. Hammering
  2. Screwing in screws
  3. Cutting using a saw
The workbench is the box from my recent Montessori materials order.  It is quite sterdy (unlike some of the materials I bought) which is a good idea for this activity.

Hammering
For this section I used wooden golf pegs which I just pushed slightly into the box.   I used a picture framing hammer as it is smaller and lighter than a general purpose hammer.  After successfully hammering the pegs in several times it was more fun to push them in by hand.



Screwing in screws
By using a very short screwdriver it is easier for small hands to manipulate it which means that Freddy was able to accurately engage it into a screw head.  He was only able to turn the screws a bit in each direction but that was enough to make him feel like he had successfully used the screwdriver - he had such a look of achievement on his face.



Cutting using a saw
This was the hardest section for Freddy to try but by far the most enjoyable, especially since he is keenly aware of how dangerous a saw is so even being allowed to touch one is a treat.  It goes without saying that you need to know what is safe for your child whilst still promoting independence and interest.



And what was Henry doing whilst all the banging and sawing was taking place?



19 comments:

  1. Simplistic but right on target for Freddy's interest! Love your idea of using a box and simple tools for this. Have I mentioned how adorable Henry is?!

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  2. You are extremely kind as always Anu.
    Rachael
    x

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  3. Very creative. Looks like your son got plenty of enjoyment from this activity. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. This is waaaaaaaaaaay cute & creative! LOVE IT!I would love for you to link up to my TGIF Linky Party - http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/search/label/Linkey%20Parties - I am also your newest follower! I would love for you to follow me back, if you want to =-)
    Beth

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  5. Hi Beth,
    Consider yourself followed!
    x

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  6. wow wow and wow again.
    I love it. I bought the golf tees but was going to use a foam block this is a much better idea.
    I think I will pass on the saw for a bit because I see them practicing on each other more than the bench right now.

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  7. I have a 20 month old and this is GENIUS! I have a bunch of boxes in the garage and can't wait to get this started! (I'm linking from Living Montessori Now in case you track those things)

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  8. I have a 20-month-old and this is GENIUS! Can't wait to try it out with one of the bajillion Amazon boxes we have in the garage. Thanks!

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  9. What a creative idea! Awesome way to recycle a sturdy box - and the workbench helps develop so many skills for young children! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I featured your post at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/LivingMontessoriNow

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  10. Hi Selmada,
    Yes, the advantage of this set up instead of the foam block is that it is much more likely to stand up to the kind of two handed hammer action that our toddlers are likely to use. When they get a bit older the foam block might be a good idea to promote more accuracy but for now this works much better.
    Rachael
    x

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  11. This is fantastic! I never thought of using a cardboard box for a workbench. We (meaning the kids we work with) often use a lot of cardboard. I had never thought of mixing regular tools with cardboard... which can substitute well for wood when it's not available. Yay!

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  12. Wow! My toddler {same age as yours!} would LOVE this. We do not have any tools really though but I will ask their great grandmother as she has a garden shed which I am sure is packed with stuff.

    Great idea to recycle the box as well.

    Looks like a lot of fun.

    I came over from Montessori Monday. I would love to participate in the cultural exchange when you do it another time. I am in Japan!

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  13. Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for your message. Another really great thing to do is to buy an old hand drill (the one that allows you to drill holes by turning a wheel). I have found that children absolutely love being able to drill their own holes and the put screws in them and this works great with cardboard.
    x

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  14. Jen,
    did you say Amazon boxes?? Our basement looks like an Amazon distribution centre with all the empty boxes!

    Lulu,
    It would be great to have you join us for the next exchange. You can sign up by pasting this into your browser https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dG56UGgtUlVPTFoxako0THVDZWEtRXc6MQ
    or just click on the link to the neft of my site above the Pinterest button.
    x

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  15. This is brilliant! I love it for my 4.5yo too for the sawing; she has great interest but we have not found a great way for her to practice as sawing wood is just a bit too difficult.

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  16. Love this, it's brilliant! How have I not seen your blog before!? I will definitely be back now that i'm a follower. :-)

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  17. Molly,
    Thanks! I recommend finding a box as strong as possible because the stiffer the box the easier it is to saw. Let me know how it goes!


    Vicky,
    Thanks for following me! I hope you find lots of fun things here and let me know if there is anything in particular that you are interested in and I'll raid my stash of pictures from the many things we have created here :)

    Best wishes
    Rachael
    x

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  18. What a cute idea! I love how it turned out ;-) Thank you for sharing your ideas with us on The Sunday Showcase

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  19. This is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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