Outdoor woodwork shop for preschool aged children

Hello! I am an early childhood educator, working with two brilliant women in early childhood education and, amid-COVID-19, we have shifted our preschool program entirely outdoors, while we can. (I know. It’s Michigan…) For now, and following our young students interests, this includes establishing an outdoor woodworking shop with the children. This great community sprang to mind in seeking guidance for this project. I’m fairly proficient in wood working, but I’m hoping someone here will be willing and able to share their wisdom and experience regarding appropriate tools, materials and techniques to start with when working with 3-5 year old children. Thanks.

I am a professional carpenter and woodworker with many years of experience. I have done some workshops with children and would be glad to help.

1 Like

That’s great! Thanks for your interest and willingness to help. We have procured some 8oz, small hammers, some large headed nails, and have sanding blocks arriving tomorrow. I have also been able to acquire what I think is birch plywood in varying thickness, tho this is proving quite difficult for the children to hammer nails into (we started some basic hammering practice yesterday). Any tips you have for materials or activities/projects that can help the children acquire some skills and feel successful would be wonderful. We have ambitions of working with the children to make a wood sign for our outdoor classroom, and maybe even an actual wood working bench! Also in mind are making stick picture frames, and some simple wood-based art projects involving sanding and staining individual squares of wood, and creating some 3-dimensional art with nature finds including leaves and sticks. Is this forum the best way to continue our communications or can I message you privately? Thanks again! We’re very excited to see where this goes, and I’m very happy to have some expertise on board.

I have scrap wood that I have shared with elementary art teachers over the years and would be glad to share it with you.
String art is a great project for kids.
Fence pickets make a very good, inexpensive source of easy to work wood.
Good quality, hand operated (no electricity) miter boxes can be a very safe saw to use with even young children with an adult on hand to supervise and help.

I’m interested in this effort. I’m an amateur woodworker, and have worked with youths as a Scouting leader when my son was in cub and boy scouts.