21 Best Tools For Kids: The Ultimate List (Updated!)

2020 has been a tough year so far but there are a few silver linings with the entire family being stuck at home. One of those unforeseen blessings has been more time to teach your kids to be self-sufficient.

Whether you’re showing them how to bake bread, handle household chores, or plant a garden, your children also want to learn how to make things and build stuff. And that means using basic hand tools.

Shop classes have seen a rapid decline at schools for years as more importance has been placed on college preparation. That’s a real shame since understanding how to use hand and power tools equip kids with fundamental skills they’ll use throughout their lives. Plus, it can be a lot more fun than book learning.

Knowing how to use tools will also save them money as adults. And there’s really no better feeling than fixing something yourself. So embrace homeschool and build something with your kids!

Our list of 21 Best Tools for Kids includes safety gear, basic hand tools, and some things to keep everything organized. Everything listed here are items your young ones can start using now (with some parental supervision, of course). Learning doesn’t get much more hands-on than this. Watch out: you might just learn something, too.

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Aren't My Kids Too Young To Learn About Tools?

There's a phrase going around these days: Common sense isn't all that common anymore. As recently as 70 years ago, many children were expected to help around the house, if not the family farm. That meant plenty of opportunities for kids to learn valuable blue-collar skills that for the most part don't exist today. 

As we've gotten away from teaching industrial arts in public schools, our kids are given fewer and fewer chances to work with their hands. That time has now been filled with mobile devices, sports tournaments every weekend, and "safe" activities. As a result, there is a vast shortage of plumbers, electricians, and contractors in the United States. 

Working with tools give kids experience with physical dexterity, problem-solving, and good old fashioned know-how. Are your kids too young to work with tools? That all depends on your confidence level and what kind of tools are appropriate for their age. 

You clearly don't want your toddler working with a table saw. That said, children as young as four can be taught various skills using basic hand tools, skills that translate to the classroom. For instance, a measuring tape is invaluable for learning numbers, counting, and mathematics.

Showing your kid how to properly screw fasteners into a piece of soft pine will teach them balance, motion skills, and muscle memory that will serve them well when they begin playing sports. Above all, learning to use tools teaches patience, perseverance, and respect for others.

Many parents may be tool novices themselves. If that describes you, don't worry about it. Learning together can provide an amazing opportunity for mutual education. Your child will always remember that time that the two of you were on the same playing field and did it together. And they'll remember that fondly.

You do-it-yourselfers out there that know what you're doing have a responsibility to pass on what you've learned (I'm sure you know that already). It's a lot more fun to work on projects with your children. The joy of teaching my kids useful skills far outweighs anything that I've ever created.

How Should I Begin Teaching My Child About Tools?

Keep this very important detail in mind: kids love to help even if that means they're not really helping (if you have kids, you should know what I'm talking about). What's crucial about this process is that your child has the chance to do something with you.

They want to be with you doing whatever it is that you're doing. They want the chance to contribute to what they feel is "your" project. It will give them enormous self-esteem, a sense of pride, and security knowing you allowed them to help you out.

Start small. There's no reason to begin work on a full-sized dining table with turned legs made of oak with matching chairs. There are plenty of options out there for you both to get your hands dirty with. Begin with something simple like a birdhouse or a pine derby car. Pre-cut kits can be found online, at hobby stores, and hardware outlets.

There are opportunities for younger children to start using tools as well that are safe and approachable. Instead of driving nails into wood, consider popping bubble wrap with a hammer. Screw fasteners into an old sheet of drywall. You could even have kids saw through foam board to get the hang of things.

Don't throw out your old machines! They present a great chance for kids to take things apart without getting in trouble for it. There are also many resources online to learn about woodworking, electronics, and even metalworking. All of these disciplines require the use of hand and power tools.

At the end of the day, your kids really want to be involved with what you're doing. By providing them the know-how and their very own toolbox, not only will you have a great time doing that but you'll also have an even better time when they return the favor with some cool tool gifts for you. 

See also:

Best Science Kits for Kids

Best Workbenches for Your Garage

Best Benchtop Drill Presses

101 Best Gifts for DIY Dads and Stepdads

Best Bunk Beds with Desks for Study at Home


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