Tools that Kids Should Know How to Use

Tools can help kids with a variety of activities, from building and fixing things to simply honing their motor skills. With the right tools, kids can be creative, gain independence, and build skills that will last a lifetime. That’s why they should know how to use the basic tools. Knowing how to use tools can provide them with a number of benefits. It will help them become more creative and productive, and teaches them valuable life skills.

From learning basic building principles to honing problem-solving skills and giving them a sense of accomplishment, introducing kids to using tools and teaching them the basics can be an enriching experience for both the parents and child. Not only that, it will also help develop important values such as curiosity and self-reliance. 

In this article, we list some of the most important tools that kids should know how to use. We explain what tools are best to learn about, why they are important, and most importantly, how kids should use them. We have also included some safety tips to keep in mind when using the different tools.

Basic Hand Tools 

One of the most common types of tools for kid learners are basic hand tools. Learning how to correctly and safely use basic hand tools is an important step in expanding a child’s toolbox knowledge. Here are some essential tools to teach them about:

Hammer 

Hammer lying on a work surface

A hammer is a hand tool that has a handle onto which a metal head is attached. It usually has a flat face for pounding or striking nails into wood or metal. Hammers come in different sizes and with different weights depending on the task at hand. 

When showing your little one how to drive a nail, first make sure that you have the right sized hammer for the job. To drive the nail in, position it where you’d like it, then hold it firmly and strike it with the face of your hammer. Keep going until it has fully sunk into the material. 

Kids can use hammers for driving nails into wood or metal surfaces, smashing rocks or other materials, or pounding stakes into the ground. Older kids can use them for splitting wood along its grain (for firewood).

Safety Guidelines For Using Hammers

  • Wear gloves when handling nails. 
  • Hold nails firmly in place when hitting them. 
  • Never swing the hammer over your own body or anyone else’s body. Only swing it sideways or downwards towards your target

Screwdriver 

Different types of screwdrivers

A screwdriver consists of a handle which holds a tip, either slotted or cross head, used for turning screws into position. They come in various sizes according to the screw size. They have thick shafts usually made of plastic. The long thin design offers more leverage than other kinds of turning tools. 

The first step of learning to use a screwdriver is selecting the one which fits snugly inside the target screw. Once you have the right one, insert it into the groove on the screw. Use firm pressure and keep turning until the screw is  as tight or as loose as you desire. 

Screwdrivers are used extensively in any kind of DIY activity. Kids can also use them for other applications such as opening battery compartments on toys or watches.

Safety Guidelines For Using Screwdrivers  

  • Wear gloves when handling screws so that sharp edges don’t hurt little hands. 
  • Wiggling the screwdriver too much, once it is inserted into place, weakens its grip. 
  • Replace loose-fitting heads with new ones as they may not properly hold onto screws.  

Pliers

a collection of various crafting pliers

Pliers consist of two pivoted levers joined together. The leverage system allows them to clamp onto objects without putting undue strain onto your hands. They come in many different shapes and sizes depending on their intended usage, but all serve the same purpose. 

Teach kids how to use pliers by opening them wide enough so that they comfortably fit around the target item. Now close onto it (object) firmly using both ends until it is securely fastened within the pliers’ jaws. The grip should be firm but not tight enough to damage the object. Once properly secured, twist or pull the object by simply applying pressure onto the handles.    

Pliers come in handy during many activities such as connecting wires. Children can also use it for other applications such as when dealing with jewelry, mechanical repairs, or crafting activities.

Safety Guidelines For Using Pliers

  • Check that you are securely holding the workpiece within pliers before attempting any motion. 
  • Always keep your hands out of way while operating pliers. 
  • Keep them lubricated so that they don’t wear down over time or slip suddenly.

Wrench 

closeup of an adjustable wrench

Wrenches are special tools designed specifically for tightening nuts, bolts and other similar fasteners. Their pivoted design provides you with additional leverage, offering more torque than applying pressure directly onto the fastener with bare hands.  

Learning to tighten fasteners using a wrench starts with adjusting its jaws according to fastener size. Once set, insert its jaws onto the fastener from both ends until securely held within its grip. Now slowly apply pressure on the handle until desired tightness has been reached. Once done, loosen the wrench jaws and carefully remove the wrench from the fastener. Wrenches come in handy for putting together furniture and for various plumbing activities. 

Safety Guidelines For Using Wrenches      

  • Never use too much force because it could cause the wrench to slip out, risking injuries. 
  • Make sure fasteners are secured inside the wrench before twisting.  
  • Discard any wrenches showing signs of wear.

Measuring Tools

This category of tools assists in making various projects more aesthetic and precise. 

Knowing how to use measuring tools helps kids in a lot of ways. 

Rulers

a metallic ruler

A ruler is a simple tool used to measure length or distance. Typically made of metal or plastic, it is marked in inches and centimeters. 

To measure length using a ruler, align the ruler’s zero point with the starting point of what you want to measure. Count the number of lines between the starting point and the end point, and note down the measurements. It is important to count the markings carefully otherwise the measurement will be inaccurate. Kids can use rulers to draw straight lines or to check lengths of various objects. 

Tape Measures 

A tape measure is a flexible measuring tool. It consists of a long strip of cloth or other material marked with precise measurement increments. Usually inches, centimeters, meters, or feet

Teach your little one how to use a tape measure by extending it out to the desired length. Now ask them to read off the measurement at its end point. Again, you have to teach them to read it carefully otherwise the measurement would be wrong. 

Don’t let your kids become too excited when using a tape measure, because overstretching it past its maximum length may damage it permanently. Also, ensure that their fingers are away from both edges of the tape measure when retracting it back into its case. 

Tape measures are commonly used for projects where exact measurements are needed. Kids will find them handy for everyday activities like knowing when furniture needs to be rearranged due to size constraints. 

Level 

a spirit bubble level 

A level is also known as a spirit level or bubble level. The instrument consists of a liquid-filled tube with indicator markings. It also contains an air bubble within the liquid that lets you know about surface levelness. It is typically used for determining whether a surface is flat and leveled by indicating its relative angle from certain points.  

To use a level, place it onto a flat surface and keep tilting it slowly until you find its center point. This should be indicated by the bubble when it lies in between the two parallel lines. This indicates that your surface is sufficiently leveled. 

Tell kids that the accuracy of a level is important for any project it is used for. So they should make sure that it is in good condition before each use. If any bubbles appear outside the normal range, it might need re-calibration. Ask them to take good care of this tool as dropping it may cause damage.  

Most children find bubble levels quite interesting. They can use it for checking shelves for evenness, making sure countertops are perfectly parallel with flooring surfaces, and for checking the straightness of frames after hanging them up. 

Cutting Tools 

Cutting tools are useful for everyone and knowing how to use the different cutting tools from an early age helps build confidence. If you are unsure about handing them the real version, there are many kid-friendly variations of various cutting tools available that are safe for the little hands. 

Utility Knife

the silhouette of a utility knife 

A utility knife is a multifaceted tool used for various cutting tasks. It is commonly sold under names like carpet knives, box cutters, or all-purpose knives. Its versatility in cutting different materials such as cardboard boxes, linoleum floors etc. makes a utility knife truly remarkable. 

When teaching kids how to safely use one, start by extending out its blade. Now hold it firmly with one hand and apply gentle pressure onto the material you wish to cut. Without applying too much pressure, move it along your desired cutting line until you have achieved your desired length. Lastly, retract the blade back into its protective covering for future use.  

Your children will find a utility knife useful for many chores around the house. For example, opening cardboard boxes/packages or for cutting paper. 

Safety Guidelines For Using Utility Knives 

  • Blades are sharp so always handle them with utmost caution. 
  • Be sure to retract the blade into its casing after use. 
  • Never leave your knife unattended with exposed blades. 

Scissors 

A scissor consists of two sharp angled blades mounted together for easy cutting/trimming of materials. It is designed with handles, allowing better control during use. You can find it in various shapes, sizes, and materials.

Learning to use a scissor starts by proper handling. Tell your little one to grasp one handle firmly whilst positioning blade points onto what needs to be cut. Ask them to press the handles without letting the blades move out of position. Move scissors along the desired cutting line until their desired shape/length is achieved. Scissors provide many uses around home and garden including trimming and cutting various materials into shapes.

Safety Guidelines For Using Scissors:

  • Never open scissors near any parts of body
  • The middle parts within scissors blades are sharp so avoid contact at all cost. 
  • Young children should never use scissors without adult supervision. 

Conclusion

Learning how to use various tools can benefit children in many ways. It teaches them valuable lessons about problem solving and construction principles, and provides useful practical skills which can help develop independence and confidence levels over time. By taking some time to teach your little ones about using basic tools like the ones mentioned above, you will provide them with life long skills that will be useful for their future endeavors.