Wood Working with Kids Ideas - for Preschool & PreK

Otto's woodworking at three years at How we Montessori

Yesterday my three-year-old spent an hour hammering nails into a large piece of balsa wood, and today he made the simple creations pictured above with nails and glue, so woodworking is very much on my mind. Our woodworking setup isn't working as well as it could. I'm looking for a better way of storing our tools and displaying materials like nails and other add ons. The ideas I'm featuring here aren't all project-type ideas (think process, not product) but they are ideas on activities and tools to introduce to Preschool and PreK students and ways to display or manage their work. 

Love this set-up. Lots of hands can get into those baskets at once. 

Yes!! Woodworking with three-year-olds looks a lot like this. They need lots of practice and love repetition. Which may look like a lot of nails or screws in one piece of work. This is from a Marbella, a Mum, and Early Years and Forest School Educator in Spain.

This is also from Marbella, there are so many children here working at once. "Every preschool should have a woodworking day! In fact, every day should be woodwork day! Every child should have the chance to build their confidence, extend their abilities, take risks & problem solve. Learning through doing really is what Early Years provision is all about!"

This book. Tool Crib: A woodworking primer for young folks by Matthew J. Lepper.

Children learn best from each other. Love this group work at a Montessori school. 

Building with wood scraps and glue. This is one of the very first woodworking activities I do with my children, perfect for children to become familiar with woodwork before introducing nails and a hammer. Miss Levi Shop is a great kid's woodworking account to follow, Miss Levi is a PK-8 Woodworking Teacher in Boston.

Wow, look at all of these wood scraps - and sculptures!

Let's learn about wood types too. Wood identification and matching. 

This is a good idea to store and display nails, screws, cork, shapes, and things. "Screw dishes to a board to prevent them from spilling over!".

One of my favourite tips to make clean-up fun, a magnet to pick up nails and screws.

Another tip I've found incredibly helpful is to always have circles for nailing, wood slices, or bottle caps work well. Children love to use these as wheels, buttons, or eyes for their creations. 

This isn't particularly organised but it looks fun and inviting.  

Hammering a log at The Bix Montessori School in Oxfordshire. 

Also at Bix Montessori, hammering on a vice or clamp. This changed everything for us, clamping the wood makes it much easier for the child to hammer nails, the child can focus on hammering and not on holding the wood.

This Art Club in Los Angeles uses hammering a lot in the preschool class. It has given me a few ideas of using nails to secure shapes for art!

This nail hedgehog is in a few woodworking books that I've read, it's such a cute idea for children who loves to hammer. 

I've included these as they are super cute and age-appropriate for preschoolers to make independently, and because our creations at home (at 3yrs) look very similar!

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