Should Children Be Given Real Tools
Should Children Have Access to Real Tools?
Giving children real tools can be pretty nerve-wracking. The last thing you want is for them to hurt themselves and find yourself in A and E explaining that yes you did give them the saw.
Itís easy to imagine that if you give a pre-schooler a hammer theyíre likely to drop it on their foot, swing to hard and hit themselves or someone else or bash their finger. Likewise giving a child a sharp knife or a saw seems like a recipe for disaster. But what if we didnít assume they didnít have the skills or the level of responsibility required. What if we assumed the best instead of the worst. Then the benefits to learning, confidence and development could be massive.
Children Learn Best By Doing
Children learn best when they experience things. They can understand why a hammer needs to be heavy when they use it to hit a nail into a piece of wood, and they understand much better that a saw is sharp and why it needs to be when they feel the teeth biting through wood.
Of course, children need to be introduced slowly to tools, with good safety instructions and at the right time. Itís much safer when they arenít tired or hungry or too excited, and for most children, short bursts will work better as little ones tend not to have very long attention spans.
Trusting them and allowing them to take risks is how they gain self-confidence and the ability to judge risk for themselves. Showing them that you trust them to use grown-up tools will also give an immense sense of pride and you might be surprised at how well they rise to the challenge.
The Bigjigs Junior Tool Box
If you are worried about introducing real tools too early why not start out with realistic childrenís tools. The Bigjigs tools also have the benefit of being the perfect size for little hands, not too heavy, and not shar[p enough to do any real damage, although that also means the saw, chisels and plane canít be used on real wood.
The saw is perfect for cardboard though, or even balsa wood, which children will love. And they can use the screwdrivers, Allen keys and spanners to build, take apart and fix their toys. And the hammer is brilliant for banging real nails into a piece of wood for as long as they are enjoying it.
This can be a great way to introduce children to real tools and a stepping stone to the real thing. They can learn how to hold and manoeuvre a saw, feel how it works and learn to treat it with respect before they get to experience the real thing on an actual piece of wood. This way they get to gain confidence and skills with a lower level of risk.
Next Up: The Benefits of Risky Play