What was your child's first project?

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Birdhouses--and I still help my friend's kids make 'em. We use 1X5 cypress.
I have plans for several different birds and their needs.
I let the kids show me which birds they've seen around their homes using a birdwatcher's poster, then they pick out the house they want to build. This way, they can take full ownership of the project. All with their parent's permission of course
They do the measuring, sawing, sanding, drilling, gluing, finishing down to the end.
I just never have too many over at the same time, otherwise safety becomes an even bigger issue.
.

ol'
"this-is-the-child-who-ran-her-bike-into-a-parked-car-the-wife-would-kill-me
to
it
to
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A birdhouse.

ol'
"this-is-the-child-who-ran-her-bike-into-a-parked-car-the-wife-would-kill-me
to
it
to
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short answer- first projects were piles of what ever he would pull out of the scrap box, all jumbled and glued into something only he could explain.
A simple wall shelf came out last year (at 7). This year, a simple shaker bench, I ran some dadoes, and cut the curve in the center spine. No m/t joints. A few screws, heads covered with wood plugs. He did some sawing, and a lot of sanding. He stained it (some ungodly purple stuff he found in my cabinet), it is awaiting varnish.
Birdhouses. Bat houses are great- Though it will be Fall before they get used by the bats, they tell me.
Rubber band guns. Sling shots. Oh wait- you said girls...
-Dan V.
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you said- "Rubber band guns. Sling shots. Oh wait- you said girls..."
careful now.... my 10 yr old loves hot wheels cars and anything hockey. my 13 yr old can out run, out fish, out shoot any boy her age she knows and looks pretty doing it....(puff)
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...

My son's 5 now; he started helping me when he was 4. He built all kinds of things out of the scrap pile with wood glue; he's big into robots, Bionicles, Transformers, etc. He glued and clamped them together and then he painted them with craft paints.
My daughter is 3, and she's doing small scraps with paint and glue, too. In our house boys and girls both get to do wood. The only time my kids aren't welcome in the shop is when the big power tools are running. They can use anything that isn't a power tool and isn't too sharp - e.g., clamps, handsaws, screwdrivers, etc are all okay.
One of the most fun projects I built with my son was a "money box." He got to pick all the materials (scrap maple, painted bright yellow of course) and he got to make all the choices for dividers and the like. He even painted the logo on the top. Now he stores his most top-secret kid stuff in it. The key is that they get to be in charge of how it is done, and then they will love it.
Cheers, Nate
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Oh, oh, I know...a table!
(OK, y'all, back off, it's an inside joke....)
Seriously, it's a good question with some good answers.
Birdhouses, treasure boxes, shelves, bug/reptile cages, robots, toolbox, child-sized workbench (sawhorses, etc.), hiking sticks, toy boats, paint easel.
Safe processes they tend to like: sanding, gluing
Techniques to introduce gradually: measuring, cutting, design
Advanced: turning, scroll saw
Attitude: I think Nate had it down just right for the fun part. If you want to sneak in some educational advancement, try to entice them into thinking it's their idea to learn some new technique. Sound excited, it usually works.
H
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Oops, you know, much of what I just wrote was for younger children. I'd forgotten that yours were 10 and 13. That's old enough to do virtually anything, even the bigger power cutting tools, provided they learn in steps. Jr. High School woodshops used to be de rigeur...
H.
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Oh, oh, I know...a table!
(OK, y'all, back off, it's an inside joke....)
Seriously, it's a good question with some good answers.
Birdhouses, treasure boxes, shelves, bug/reptile cages, robots, toolbox, child-sized workbench (sawhorses, etc.), hiking sticks, toy boats, paint easel.
Safe processes they tend to like: sanding, gluing
Techniques to introduce gradually: measuring, cutting, design
Advanced: turning, scroll saw
Attitude: I think Nate had it down just right for the fun part. If you want to sneak in some educational advancement, try to entice them into thinking it's their idea to learn some new technique. Sound excited, it usually works.
H
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Sorry for the double post, my server was having problems and I couldn't tell if the first went through... H
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mel wrote:

My son's first project was setting sheet rock nails in the ply subfloor of the "end of the garage being converted into the new galley kitchen" remodel. Figured a half box of nails, a small ball pean (sp?) hammer would keep him busy for a few minutes. I got a piece of sheet rock up, a few nails to hold it up and found The Kid had set most of the nails I'd given him - all over the floor.
His second project was while I was doing some wiring. He tested a pair of diagonal cutters - on my leg! And I was wearing a brand new pair of Levis. Skin is self sealing - Levis are not. Even then he didn't seem to like Levis. To this day I've never been able to get him to wear Levis. BIG, BAGGY, CROTCH DOWN AROUND HIS ANKLES denims he'll wear - but Levis - NEVER!
He ended up working his way through school as a bicycle mechanic and bike shop store manager - go figure.
But back to your question - projects for young kids. Others have noted that the under 8 crowd really get into glueing scraps together and painting/decorating them. Drill holes for feathers from a feather duster and find a rock hound who has a lot of little tumbled stones - the kids will be happy campers.
I did some projects with kids 5-9 last summer and put that experience up on my site. Should give you some ideas.
http://home.comcast.net/~charliebcz/KidProjects/KidProjects1.html
You do have to watch them like a hawk. They WILL touch the end of a hot drill bit, despite your vigilance.
charlie b
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