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My folks tell me that I started gardening early, pulling up icicle radishes and eating them, dirt and all, at age two. One photo of me as a youngster shows me wielding a rather large pitchfork — but I don’t recall any pint-size gardening tools.

I know that getting children involved is the best way to teach them, and I want to train them to be safe. Should I be looking for under-sized chainsaws and jackhammers for my kids and grandkids? Are small tools the way to go? Let us know in comments.

Kids’ Garden Tool Set [eToys]



If you or your children are interested in crafting small derby cars, head to Lowe’s on Tuesday for a free demonstration. After they show you how to make a derby car faster and more aerodynamic, your kids’ll get an attendance badge, and you’ll receive a coupon for 10% off Dremel products. See more details after the jump.

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This wooden steam shovel kicks the crap out of Fisher Price or even Tonka — it actually works! It swivels and digs with a bucket controlled by two wooden levers. Holz Toys has a winner here — heck, we want one.

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This season, give your little girl a chainsaw — a chainsaw ornament, that is — with pink Swarovski crystals and a pink ribbon to match.  Or, if a chainsaw doesn’t seem just right, maybe a circ saw or a power drill are more her thing. 

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Every kid knows that the best toy is one made lovingly by a parent. Why not spend some of your shop time this weekend making a special toy for your kids? Check out the link below for some excellent instructions on how to make your very own kaleidoscope.

According to the author, the kaleidoscope was invented in 1816 by Sir David Brewster. If Sir David can build one two centuries ago, you — with all your high-tech tools and know-how — can probably throw one together today, right?

(Thanks, fdecomite, for the great cc-licensed photo.)

Weekend Project: Kaleidoscope Making [Queens University Math@Home]


Why buy one of those crappy plastic McForts when you could easily build an awesome playhouse for your kids on your own? This article over on FamilyFun.com offers some ideas on how to build a simple and inexpensive playhouse in an afternoon, but you certainly don’t have to limit yourself to their ideas. If you’ve got the whole weekend to work on it, why not build ’em a fully-enclosed building complete with furniture and bookcases?

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Yoyo Blank Cutters

There’s little cooler than making a toy for your kids (or friends’ kids). The sparkle in their eyes as they run off to play not only warms your heart — it also ensures another generation of people who know how to make things. Here’s an easy way to start: a yo-yo kit from Penn State Industries. 

Just select a kit that matches your woodworking prowess. If you’re a wood newbie, you can choose the kit with all the parts you need to make custom a yo-yo. If you’re a little more experienced, though, they sell cutters you can chuck up in your drill press to turn out ready-to-assemble yo-yo blanks. And if you have a lathe, they offer a mandrel for turning your own kick-ass custom blanks.

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TM reader Rabbiperetz writes: “When I saw this, I knew it just had to be the first toys for my two-week-old baby.  I think he might just be your youngest Toolmonger.”  See?  There’s nothing like getting ’em started early.

My First Tools [Ty’s Toy Box]


Think kids don’t have a place in the shop?  Toolmonger reader and photo pool member Kurt busts this myth with this photo of a project he recently completed with his daughter Sophia.  In fact, he posted a series of pictures showing the whole process as he and Sophia built it.  Check out the photo pool for the rest of ’em.

It’s photos and stories like this that make me proud to be a Toolmonger.  Congrats, Sophia, on a project well done from your new friends here at TM!

Toolmonger’s Photo Pool [Flickr]



Lawnmowers + kids – proper safety = injuries.  From Child Health News:

“Each year, lawn mower accidents send 9,400 U.S. children to the hospital, causing injuries more severe than any other tool or device, research shows.  The most common injuries are lacerations, fractures, and amputations of the fingers, toes, feet, and legs.”

Somehow this isn’t surprising.  My Father — a professional machinist, carpenter, and woodworker — managed to mangle a finger while repairing a self-propelled walk-behind.  Sadly, lawn mowers are so simple and common that we often forget the danger they pose to the complacent.

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