Every child’s tool box needs a tape measure.
Little hands are often eager to help mom or dad with home-improvement projects. But parents may be leery of handing over the hammer and nails for fear of ending up in the emergency room. You can feel safe about including your pint-sized carpenter on your next project if you outfit your child’s tool box with the right size and type of tools.
Basic Hand Tools
No child’s tool box is complete without the basics: a hand saw, a hammer, a screwdriver and pliers. “Popular Mechanics” recommends a Stanley Fat Max Hand Saw as a safe tool for cutting wood and a 16-ounce straight claw hammer for pounding in and pulling out nails. With the most commonly used tips hidden in the handle of the Klein 10-in-1 Screwdriver, your apprentice carpenter will have no problem finding the right screwdriver for the job. When it comes to pliers, a one-size-fits-all pair is the tool of choice for burgeoning builders. The easy-to-adjust Irwin 6-inch GrooveLock Pliers – V-Jaw can handle all types of kid-sized repairs and projects.
Every handyman needs a good tape measure. Choose a durable one that is at least 16 feet long to assist your child in measuring not only the day’s projects, but everything she can get her hands on. A bubble level is another useful tool to include in a child’s tool box. “Popular Mechanics” recommends the glow-in-the-dark Johnson Glo-View Torpedo level. It may seem a little sophisticated, but a carpenter’s square can help your budding carpenter get a handle on angles and degrees. If nothing else, she can use the straight edge to mark up her project.
A power drill is a must in any properly outfitted tool box. “Popular Mechanics” called the battery-operated Craftsman 11812 Drill/Driver an “inexpensive, lightweight and more or less harmless” choice for children. A Dremel engraver is not a necessary addition to a child’s tool box, but your child will have a ball using this small engraver to carve his name into any metal or wood project. Just be careful he doesn’t make his mark on your kitchen table.
Clamping and Prying Tools
Unless you want to spend your Saturday afternoons holding your child’s project together while the glue is drying, invest in a solid pair of clamps such as the Jorgenson Light-Duty 12-inch Bar Clamp. Any tool box worth its salt needs a crowbar. The Dasco 10-Inch Molding Bar is large enough to take small items apart, but small enough to minimize the potential damage to the project or your child.
Ready-Made Tool Sets
If you don’t have the time or the inclination to purchase individual tools, check out the RedToolbox kits available at Lowe’s. These durable, child-sized tools come in five-piece, eight-piece and 10-piece sets. This brand also offers woodworking kits to make birdhouses, toys and even your own wooden tool box.