Making things with tools? Benefits don’t cut it or measure up
Remember when you were a kid and you built your first birdhouse? The effort and planning it took, the tools you used, the slivers you got?
Well, that seems to have become a thing of the past. And about time, am I right?!
I’m not saying it’s dangerous . . . actually, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Tools are dangerous. Kids with tools are a disaster. Why would a parent put their child in harm’s way on purpose like that?
And we’re not just talking about reciprocal saws and pneumatic drills here, even the basic implements can slice and dice. Following are a list of entry-level construction tools to watch like a hawk and the ages at which kids may become tempted.
7 Tools of destruction that kids love (and should obviously be avoided)
- Levels: Who doesn’t like a solid metal ruler that can be dropped on your toes when you are walking around and checking to see what’s straight and what isn’t? Sure, some people might feel comfortable giving these to kids as young as five, but I would avoid those kinds of people.
- Hammers: The thing about hammers is they need to be heavy enough to work, but light enough to wield, which makes them a hazard. At least they don’t also have metal prongs to maim yourself on the back swing . . . oh, right, of course they do. If you’re going to give your seven-year-old a hammer, make it a smaller light one to start with as well as a box of shortish nails with a big head, so at least it’s not dangerous and frustrating.
- Pliers: These little blister-makers and a roll of copper wire can keep kids busy for minutes at a time. At least a small six-inch pair with rubber grips won’t be too cumbersome for your average eight-year-old.
- Handsaw: Speaking of frustration, there’s nothing like a tippy sawhorse and dull handsaw to make you appreciate power tools. A short, recently sharpened crosscut saw will suit any ten-year-old who is looking to make some noise and a mess. Don’t forget to buy some band-aids!
- Measuring tapes: And speaking of band-aids, a rusty old measuring tape may seem harmless enough, that is, until it starts to retract. Like a cobra striking, that thing will whip you when you least expect it. You can bet it’ll leave a mark.
- Cordless drill: While it doesn’t carry the promise of carpal tunnel issues like a regular screwdriver, a cordless drill will still keep your twelve-year-old on their toes. Keep the speed low and goggles on for this one!
- Jigsaw: It goes without saying that anything with the word saw in it is trouble, even these light and small ones. Yes, it does handle well and make cool curvy cuts (kinda like a jigsaw puzzle, funnily enough), but it has some drive. Put it in the hands of a thirteen-year-old and next thing you know it’s a steppingstone to its older cousins, the circular and chain saws. Some may argue it’s a good introduction to power tool safety and respect, but they would be wrong.
Okay, I admit it – tools can provide kids with the opportunity to learn, create, design, build, reuse and recycle. But, then again, buying a ready-made birdhouse is just as fun, isn’t it?