The art of building things is fascinating to children, and they are intrigued by the tools used in the process. Preschool kids can start being introduced to carpenter tools, and teachers can work to develop complete lesson plans around the tools to show children how to use each tool properly and safely. These can serve as lessons in other subjects, too, such as science, personal safety and math, and to improve motor skills.
Help children to learn how to put the fasteners into place using the tools to promote hand-eye coordination, grouping, matching objects and counting. Fasteners are the things used to secure carpentered items, such as nails, bolts, screws, tacks and staples, and the associated tools include things like hammers, drills and screwdrivers. Children should be given plastic versions of each fastener -- ask them to identify each of them, then match them up to the tool that's used to put them into place. If plastic versions are not available, have the children draw the tool and fastener that go together, such as a hammer with a nail.
Demonstrate safety by teaching children how to properly wear heavy-duty gloves, safety goggles, tool belts and carpenter's aprons, and explain when and why these items are necessary. It can be challenging to teach safety to children of this age, but things like rehearsing and showing are solid ways to reinforce what you tell them. For example, explain why a carpenter must wear safety goggles and demonstrate how to properly put them on, then allow students to put the goggles on themselves, while the teacher ensures they're put on properly. The same can be done for the gloves, apron and other safety tools.
Teach measuring to the students because this is a good time for children to start learning about finding patterns, building shapes, measuring, sorting items and counting. Bring in items like pencils, a compass, a protractor, a ruler, measuring tape, a square, a level and a straight edge, because these are all commonly used measuring tools in carpentry. The students can be taught how to use each item, and teachers should demonstrate what happens when measurements are not properly done, such as two pieces of wood not fitting together properly. Have the students make a piece of wood level and use the measuring tape to measure their desks, then record their measurements on a piece of paper.
Avoid bringing actual cutting tools into the classroom because this presents a significant safety hazard; instead, bring toy versions or pictures of different cutting tools, such as saws, chisels, knives and scissors. Show the students how to maintain and handle the items properly to promote motor skills, teach safety and demonstrate how to care responsibly for personal items. This can also become an art project where students use paper, glue, crayons and safety scissors to make their own saw and saw blades -- then they can demonstrate how to properly and safely use these items.
- ['Plastic fasteners and tools', 'Pen', 'Pencil', 'Safety gloves', 'Tool belts', "Carpenter's apron", 'Compass', 'Protractor', 'Ruler', 'Measuring tape', 'Square', 'Level', 'Straight edge', 'Small pieces of wood', 'Glue', 'Crayons', 'Safety scissors']
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