Can Children Under Five Use Real Tools?




Yes, there’s danger but what a strong sense of accomplishment for these children. They were so proud of themselves!


9 thoughts on “Can Children Under Five Use Real Tools?

  1. My father worked for Hoover, the washing machine people, and so I was brought up in the workshop from a very young age. I would be tasked to take a washing machine motor apart (not to difficult) and then put it together again (very difficult) and, at the end of the build, I always had bits left over. That motor was never going to work again! My father’s idea was that the motor didn’t matter. What did matter was that I should learn to use my hands and tools. There were, of course, cuts and bruises and, when I was learning how to solder, a few burns. These days we have become overprotective when it comes to children and we should let them experience tools whilst, keeping the really dangerous tools (e.g. power tools, out of reach). It is in our human nature to build things and, secondly understand things. Every child when I grew up had a Mecano set – So much better for children that those one dimensional Lego sets these days. So, I’m right behind you. Give every child a basic set of tools!

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Your father sounds like a very intelligent man. He had his priorities in place! And yes. Let children try hand tools!


  2. I admire your courage to let these children take on the challenge of using real tools.

    As much as I believe young children are capable of wielding a knife or hammering a nail, etc., I cringe and feel scared at the thought of children in my care doing it. I get anxious for the possibility of someone getting hurt.

    I guess that’s the real challenge for me – conquering that fear and anxiety for the sake of children’s learning. While I work on that, I thank you for reminding me once again of children’s capabilities and abilities.

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    1. I can totally understand your apprehension around allowing a child to use a hammer. One thing we do to help children is to use a clothes pin to hold the nail. That keeps little fingers out of the way. If you decide to try with children in your care, then I suggest you wait for a day when some children are away and you have a smaller group or extra staff. If you get the opportunity, seize it! The children will surprise you. I won’t say they’ve never hit their own fingers with the hammer. Sometimes it has happened. I stay close by and remind them that if they do hit their fingers it will hurt. The proud feeling children will have from trying this out is so worthwhile. Do you have four or five year olds? Try it with them first and see how they manage. Thanks for reading and commenting! I totally appreciate your point of view 🙂


      1. Using a clothes pin is brilliant! Maybe I shall try that in the future 🙂 I currently work with 2- to 3-year-olds and the closest I ever got was to give them crab mallets and golf tees to nail into play dough. I’ll definitely try again, especially when I have my own class to teach 🙂


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