"A prerequisite of any Practical Life activity in the Montessori classroom (whether polishing, cooking, or sewing) is that children master the skills involved before applying them to more sophisticated projects. Even in woodworking, children as young as three can have a successful experience if allowed to master one skill at a time. As their skill levels increase, they’ll create finished products." (taken from Montessori Services.com)
To follow up on the Montessori style of parenting I am sort of venturing into, my husband and I put together a simple woodworking table for my five year old.
To preface, I never would have thought of doing this for Liam, had we not gone to the Lowe's Build and Grow clinic where he got to make a wooden airplane with a real hammer and nails. He had such a good time, I thought- this is the perfect outlet for him, but these kits require too much parental guidance for a five year old. He needs to time to play with these tools and materials before he put together lavish kits.
After doing a quick Montessori search for woodworking activities for kids, I found some great ideas. I got the children's hammer from Lowe's, but here's a link to a tool kit that would have been great too. Whatever you do, do not buy fake plastic tools for kids! I have a plethora of those laying around the house that are about as exciting as eating plastic food. The most they have gotten use is from my 18 month old, but only for a few minutes before they are laying on the floor. REAL tools= real fun and learning. Those plastic toys will be going to Good Will.
Here's the list of resources/tools I ordered and recommend:
With these and a few things we had laying around the house, the woodworking table was ready to go! (the table is an old nightstand with a piece of scrap wood screwed on the top).
So far, Liam has spent at least five hours sawing (yes, i know. horrible, grueling work and he loves it). With his pieces of sawed off wood (from some other scrap wood we had laying around), he's made a couple of things he is very proud of. Here's Liam with the airplane/shooter jet he built with his friend.
He also made a shelf and now he's working on a train track. Best toy ever for Liam! (besides wooden trains and tracks he's played with for years).