There are multiple benefits that wood as a natural material brings to sensory development, starting with the unbeatable wood texture and ending with subtle scent. It is a fairly easy material to work with, that allows many ways of handling it. Here are our favorite wood projects for kids to make and tips to help make it easier for you and your child.
5 Simple Wood Projects for Kids to Make:
- Mini City
- Modern Art
- Photo Display
- Funny Faces
Wood and Glue
Work with glue and wooden pieces is a great open-ended activity for the kids ages two years and older. The babies can start exploring the texture and aromas of the wood as early as a few weeks old. The older they get, the more creative they can get, and wood and glue creative art is the perfect stepping stone on that way.
- The common white glue is the perfect material for the woodworking, worth introducing as early as 2-3 years of age. It’s easy to apply, much safer than a glue gun, washes off in seconds, and it just works.
- To glue wood together, put a pea-sized amount of glue on your piece of wood. Distribute it evenly, then put your pieces together and press hard, moving a little to squeeze all extra glue out. Then put on a clamp, wipe the excess glue with a rag, and let it sit at least 20 minutes to 1 hour to dry.
Benefits of Working with Wood for Kids
Woodworking opens up the sensory development of little ones. It is a very primary material to work with, and quite instinctive, if we take as given that the two primary human toys are a stone and a stick.
With the woodworking, you, in a way, take the stick and show your baby that it can be transformed. That leads to an explosion of creativity that can push your toddler towards making tools, art, objects, and inventions.
First human-made wheels and axles, tools, and builds were made of wood. It’s one of the most important materials in history, which also happens to be sustainable, highly stimulating, and totally safe.
Make Your Wood Projects for Kids Last Longer
Do these two things to make your kid’s wood and glue creative art last longer.
- Sand everything beforehand. It is also a sensory experience. Ask your kid to take a rough piece of wood, then help them sand it and ask if they like rough or smooth more.
- Keep a close eye on the gluing part. To glue well, go two pieces at a time, secure the glued pieces with clamps, and let them thoroughly dry.
After the glue sets up, ask your kid to add color to their creations with their favorite markers or paints.
- Wooden bits and pieces: wooden blocks, planks, branch cuts, sticks and boards.
- Sandpaper (optional)
- White glue
- Clamps (optional)
- Clean rag
Make a Mini City
Toddlers love building cities, but can’t help themselves from ruining them. If that’s the case, this mini-city is very cool to make. Ask your little one to build houses to their liking. Scale the houses after the lego men and HotWheels to make it compatible with their interests for years.
Glue the wooden blocks and pieces together to form the house-like shapes.
To glue wood together, put a pea-sized amount of glue on your piece of wood. Distribute it evenly, then put your pieces together and press hard, moving a little to squeeze all extra glue out. Then put on a clamp, wipe the excess glue with a rag, and let it sit at least 20 minutes to 1 hour to dry. It can be hard for kids to wait! That is one of the lessons in woodworking.
Cut the large side of a cereal box out and arrange your buildings inside. Now you can take it around while keeping intact. Connect four boxes, and you will get a solid mini-city that can be so easily moved around the house and upgraded every day.
Make Modern Art
Challenge yourself and your little one with this project: make a wooden structure inspired by modern artists such as Picasso. Look in a book or online to be inspired by pieces from modern artists.
Go wild about shapes. It can be a face or an arch, a tower, or a spiral – give it a try, then ask your kids to throw in some ideas of their own. More often than not you will be impressed with what they create. Add colorful acrylic paint to the sculpture (optional).
Challenge your child to name their abstract piece. Add the simple abstract art to the little town from the previous project.
Make a Vehicle
Learning to Make Wheels
Let’s make the wheels. Here I had 30-cm sticks/dowels and branch cut-offs/wooden discs.
Find the base you will use for your future vehicle and measure the axles to it. Saw them to the size with any tool you have at hand.
Attach the wheels to the axles. Apply some glue on the end of your axle and push it together in the middle of the wheel, one wheel at a time. Clamp and let them dry for about an hour. Again, waiting is hard, but it is part of the learning.
Now take your base and add it on top of the wheels. Secure axles with the scotch tape.
From the same base, you can make a car, a princess cart, a farmer’s truck, or whatever your little one is into at the moment.
From here, invite your child to take a lead. They can make something simply taking the pieces they like and attaching them on top of the base with glue.
We ended up making a jeep to take the supplies to the faraway villages. It has water buckets on the sides and the towing hook just in case.
Simple Photo Display
This cute peg display is extremely easy to make! Walk away and your kid will make ten of these (great gift idea).
Easy and cute wooden displays and can be used as the flashcards holder, photo frame, the key catch, a chores reminder, etc.
It’s a must-do father’s day craft. Get your baby to paint it and add a cute polaroid card.
Also, it’s a fun and easy element to add on a busyboard for toddler to learn the spring tension, abuse the play-doh, and show off their new art, all within one simple wooden DIY toy.
Learning to Combine Shapes
Start with cut-offs you have at hand. Wooden buttons, ornament shapes, and wooden coasters will make a great addition. Help your little one to warm up by making the first several faces. Lay the eyes, nose, and mouth, try adding eyebrows and ears.
When you get the proportions right, move, and rotate the pieces to play with the emotions of the faces. The eyebrows work wonders. Lots of laughs guaranteed here!
With older kids, try bringing in other objects that you have – wooden beads can make a nice addition to your portrait. If you have bigger pieces, you can even make a whole wooden person.
Woodworking with Kids is Important
Making a wooden toy together with your child is a rewarding bonding experience. Woodworking is a sensory journey that engages all senses with its natural look, layered texture, voiced sound, and soothing aroma. It is an all-ages appropriate craft, which gives a boost to engineering and art skills.
These wood projects for kids are easy and frugal and they make great first stepping stones to working with wood for young children.