Woodworking projects for kids are a great way to foster creativity and innovation as well as spend additional quality time in their upbringing. The range of projects can be anything from simple glued together woods for toddler-age children to more intricate projects that require power tools for pre-teens.
The projects we will cover here are more geared towards younger children. As such, they are on the more basic and simple side of that spectrum.
Towards the end we’ll cover a couple more intricate woodworking projects for older children and pre-teens. Continue reading for some of the top quick, fun, and easy woodworking projects for kids.
The classic child woodworking project, a DIY bird house is a great beginner project for those that love the outdoors. Simply cut seven squares of equal size (one for each of the four walls, one for the base, and one for each of the two roof pieces), drill an inch to two-inch hole and an additional hole to fit a standard wood dowel in the front wall, and attach with wood glue.
Let your kiddos paint the bird house after the wood glue dries and collect twigs and kindling from around your neighborhood for the “nest.” Not only will you get some quality time with your youngsters, but they’ll be left with a personalized bird house they can feel proud of displayed in your front yard!
If your kids are anything like mine, they love collecting things and tucking them away in their very own keepsake (treasure) boxes. Help them keep their momentos safe in a custom-built treasure box that they can help build!
Cut out four rectangular pieces (two long sides, one base, and one lid) and two square pieces (the two end sides) of project board, attach the base container with wood glue (and finishing nails, if desired), and connect the top with a hinge. You can add a simple locking mechanism to the front that can be purchased at your local hardware store or online.
Have your children draw their idea of treasure on a piece of paper and use it as a stencil to cut out a piece of project board. Have them help paint or stain this piece and attach it to the top with wood glue to make it their own!
Crayon Box or Crayon Holder
Crayon boxes can be constructed in a similar fashion as we previously discussed with the keepsake boxes, but if you want to give your child or children a crayon storage solution that also doubles as a fine motor skill booster, consider creating a crayon holder with them.
To do so, take a wooden crafting block, 2×4, or 4×4 piece of wood and cut to your desired length. If using a standard 2×4 or 4×4, I recommend sanding the edges round to reduce any chance of splinters for your little ones.
Using a drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of a crayon (or marker or pencil, if creating varying diameters), drill holes two-thirds the depth of your block of wood. This will allow the crayons to rest in the block of wood and creates a tool to develop fine motor skills as the children meticulously put their crayons away.
Wood Post Tent
Creating a tent with your youngsters is a fun project that they can enjoy for years to come. Furthermore, you can tailor the material to fit the area you intend it to be used. For example, a canvas or mesh material works perfectly for outdoor use to both create a shaded play area and protect them from the elements while cotton or fabric can be used for a soft touch indoors. Consider cutting a tarp to size and making a larger tent if you intend to leave it outside year round.
The easiest tent to construct with your children is the standard A-frame tent, which can be completed with four 1×2 wood posts for legs and either a metal rod or additional 1×2 wood post for the top support. Quick projects can be completed by simply drilling a hole for the metal rod or affixing the wood post beam to the four legs and securing the canvas material.
For a more long-lasting rendition, add wooden supports along bottom of the long sides and back of the tent and add canvas to the base. Also consider using stakes and rope to secure the tent to the ground for outdoor use.
Raised Garden Bed
Raised garden beds are a perfect place to house plants for your children to nurture and grow. And better yet, you get lasting educational opportunities while your kids get something they can be proud of building.
To start, cut four 4×4 posts to the desired height for the corner supports, cut 1×4 or 1×6 boards to length for the siding, cut 2×4 boards to length for the top caps, and cut treated subfloor or plywood to size for the bottom base. Have your kids help you hold the corner posts in place as you attach the bottom base with wood glue and finishing nails.
Have them continue to help as you attach the siding, each piece stacked on top of each other to the desired height. Finish it off with the 2×4 top caps to create a more finished look.
Video Game Console and Game Storage Unit
One of my first memories involving woodworking was my father and I building a video game storage unit for all my Nintendo-64 games when I was eight. The project created a lasting memory for me and got me interested in woodworking and creating at a young age.
Today, video games and consoles come in all different shapes and sizes, so you will need to custom design your unit to whatever console your kids have. That said, all games come in those plastic holders that are much easier to build for.
The design we settled on for my unit growing up involved three tiers for video games storage, using dowels to support each game and a custom fit holder for the console. Be creative with this one and have your kiddos help you design it.
The reasoning behind this idea is to embrace your kids’ interest in video games instead of fighting it, introducing them to creating and woodworking along the way.
Wooden Toy box
I saved this one for last because the size and scope of the project varies greatly. For a quick and easy toybox, repurpose a wooden crafting box, have your child paint it with finger paint, and add wheels.
For a larger scale toybox, have them construct a sizable toybox out of pre-cut thin plywood or crafting board. You will need a heavy duty hinge to withstand the heavy load of the top the larger your box becomes (if constructing a lid or top). Also consider the weight of such a unit and ability of your kids to open or move it.
My kids and I recently built a wooden toybox and book storage unit using simple 3/4″ plywood and 2×2 blocks for the feet. They loved helping me spread the wood glue and helping paint the inside of the unit. We painted the inside a contrasting color from the outside for a pop of design.
Wrapping It Up
When brainstorming woodworking projects to do with your kids, start with your child’s or children’s interests and let your imagination take over. The goal here is to get your kids interested in building and creating, with the added benefit of additional quality time with them and a finished product they can enjoy for years to come.