Wood Working With Your Toddler – Building Future Engineers and Architects

27 Jan

Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodWe had so much fun with this simple building activity that combined three materials you may have sitting around the house; wood, glue and paint.  I try to expose Gigi (and D as much as possible but she’s only 1) to as many interesting materials as possible.  Wood is a favorite.  I love the idea that I might be planting the seed of Gigi becoming an engineer or architect one day.  Any activities that involve engaging materials, decision making and outside the box thinking, I’m all about. This is just part one of a fantastic invitation to play for toddlers.  I plan to continuously bring Gigi’s wood structure out to expand on as long as she’s interested in it.  I am hoping for at least 3 or 4 sessions of painting and gluing and if all goes well, some hammering too (see below.)

Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodI found the wood at a local thrift store for about 4 dollars in the kid section.  I make sure to buy bags of wood pieces anytime I see them and just save them in our shed.  I’ve got a nice collection going but the truth is you don’t need many pieces to do this.  I thought Gigi would take tons of pieces but she was really happy with just a few.    First she glued a few together, then she added paint.  We used Nancy bottles filled with BioColor paints from Discount School Supply.  I didn’t fill the bottles all the way and told Gigi ahead of time that whatever paint was in the bottle was all she was getting.  It was her choice if she wanted to use it all at once or use little bits here and there.  She pretty much squirted the paint out in one go.  Shocker.  I chose BioColor because I thought it would be really binding, like glue, but you could use any paint.  If your child is a little older (Gigi is 2.5) you might want to start with glue only for the first session and see how far that goes.  You can save the paint for next time.

Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodActivities for Toddlers - Working with WoodOf course it wasn’t long before Gigi was covered in paint.  I always like to keep a water bucket close by when working with paints and toddlers.  They LOVE to wash their hands.  Sometimes Gigi paints just so she can wash her hands over and over.  I keep a towel on hand too, so she can do her thing and not get soaking wet.  Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodActivities for Toddlers - Working with WoodOur play fizzled out after a while because Gigi wanted to hammer her wood sculpture into the side of the playhouse.  I’m not opposed to this and actually think it’s a great idea, but D was napping and Gigi’s tools were in her room.  So, stay tuned for part 2, where we add to the structure with interesting materials and then part 3, hammer and nails with toddlers.  Should be interesting.  

Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodOverall, this was a super fun activity that is easily achievable on a big or really small scale.  Michael’s sells lots of wood blocks in different shapes and sizes or maybe you have some old blocks laying around.  If you don’t want to deal with a  paint mess you can try coloring the wood before or after you glue with crayons, sharpies or regular markers.  However you do it is great and your kids will thank you for it.  Just build!  (ps If you like this post, check out this wood working project with three and four year olds.)

Activities for Toddlers - Working with WoodZero to Two Fantastic Play Ideas for Your Baby and Toddler! This ebook is AMAZING!

19 Responses to “Wood Working With Your Toddler – Building Future Engineers and Architects”

  1. Gina January 27, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    meeting you, I’m the more empowered with the idea “tools for toddlers!” Great project and love your hands on photos! Enthusiasm is jumping off the screen here! FUN!

    • Meri Cherry January 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks Gina! Tools for Toddlers YES YES YES!

  2. Ana January 27, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    So awesome! I think woodworking with young ones is a great activity!

    • Meri Cherry January 27, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      It’s so much fun. I can’t wait to see where she takes it.

  3. Stephanie Haass January 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm #

    Love love LOVE your spirit and the things you do with your littles! I wish we lived closer!!!

  4. meg January 28, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    This is brilliant. I am up far too late and am diving into your site. So in love and so glad I met you!

    • Meri Cherry February 3, 2014 at 3:20 am #

      Thanks Meg!!! So glad we met too. Wish our girls could create together!

  5. Erika Lee Sears January 28, 2014 at 9:29 pm #

    Wow! So great and he is so serious in his creation. My daughter just started really getting crayons but Im sure glueing is coming up soon.

  6. Grandma January 29, 2014 at 2:35 am #

    You surprise me all the time. You are the greatest. I look forward to your next project. Love, Gram

    • Meri Cherry February 3, 2014 at 3:20 am #

      Thanks Gram. I know you’re my biggest fan. Love you!

  7. kewkew February 3, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    I just saw your post linked up and wanted to stop by and check out the fun your little one looked like he was having. I had never thought of introducing wood working with a toddler. What a neat idea. Of course, first I will have to see if I can find wood anywhere.
    I would love for you to stop by and share on my recently revived Toddler Ideas Tuesday linky. I will be featuring 2-3 posts every week, linking back to the original post.
    I hope to see you at Tots and Me.
    Have a great evening.

    • Meri Cherry February 3, 2014 at 3:14 am #

      Thanks so much for stopping by. Wood working with toddlers is sooo much fun! I just did a link up. Thanks!!

      • kewkew February 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing on Toddler Idea Tuesday. I look forward to seeing more of your great toddler ideas. Looks like you have a great blog with great ideas here.
        Also wanted to let you know that this week’s linky is live, feel free to stop in any time this week if you have new toddler posts to share.

  8. Laurie February 6, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    loved meeting you at ALT. I think its fantastic how you let the kids guide themselves and make hugs messes… they are lucky to have you as a mom. Great sight!

    • Meri Cherry February 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Hi Laurie! It was so great meeting you as well. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you found some fun things to do with your posse. xo


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