The idea of children playing with tools can send your heart racing, your stomach tightening and your head in a panic. Tools are dangerous. Tools and children don’t go together, however, here’s why I let my children play with tools…
Yes, tools are dangerous. It can be terrifying seeing children with a big metal hammer in their hand or a saw in their grasp. Anything could happen. I let my children play with selected tools. They are kept an eye on and have been told about safety.
Children love to join in with DIY. This is how they learn. They observe everything us grown ups do, they absorb it like a sponge, much more than we give them credit for. They ask questions, eager to hear the answers, to gain knowledge, just like mum and dad.
This observation is wonderful, but children gain even more from helping out and being allowed the freedom to explore tools and material themselves. By allowing my children supervised play with tools, they learn how to handle them, how to use them effectively and appropriately. They learn some key motor skills and problem solving skills.
I recently let my kids play with screwdrivers, hammers and chisels whilst we worked on a garden project. They had an amazing time unscrewing screws, testing out their coordination and working out how hard different materials were i.e. wood, brick etc. Next, they got stuck into chiselling out a brick. This lasted for hours and they ended up with a little brick dolls chair! They also chiselled out their name in a brick. This was amazing, they learnt so much!
This little activity kept them amused for several days, they really didn’t want it to end. They were so pleased with their creations (as was I). Yes, they could have hurt themselves, but by taking a risk and allowing them to explore tools for themselves they learnt how to handle them, what the tools did, their limitations, safety and so much more.
On previous occasions my son has used the saw too. Again, he experienced learning hands on rather than just observing it. He learnt a sawing technique, where to place his hands safely, how to manage sharp things and still keep his fingers intact.
Children can excel when they are given the opportunity to figure things out for themselves, explore and discover their own abilities. Yes, it does mean taking a risk and yes it is scary, but manage that risk, as best you can and children will often surprise us with just how careful they can be and just how much they learn.
That’s why I let my children play with tools do you?