This is 9 Essential Tips for Making a Toddler Workbench, your guide to making the coolest workbench for your tiny boss. In this post I’ll show you several things to consider when you make your design, and lots of tips and ideas. Enjoy.
Making a Toddler Workbench
Making a workbench for your child is one of the most fun activities that you’ll ever do in all of woodworking. Not only do you get to make something fun, but you also get to enrich the experience of your toddler at the same time.
Kids like to imitate their parents and grandparents all the time. If you are into woodworking, odds are your kids will want to dabble in the same thing. If you provide them the right environment to do so, you might get them hooked on woodworking in early age.
That’s great for the two of you. Not only does woodworking teach a lot of valuable skills that can be applied in other areas of your toddlers life, it also gives you an opportunity to spend more time with the people that you love.
Besides, there is nothing cuter than watching your toddler banging away on their workbench trying to be just like you. It’s flattering, heartwarming, and all because you made it a point to give them the space to be kids.
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Make the Toddler Bench Look Like Yours but Smaller
If you’re going to make a toddler workbench for your shop, do it all the way. This means you need to make a workbench that’s more than just a kids toy. Make them a bench that looks just like yours, and put in the same effort or more.
This should be a very important project to you, because it’s going to be a very important workbench to somebody else. Don’t treat this like something that will just get taken apart down the road. If you do it right, and make lots of memories, you’ll never take it apart.
That being said, make that bench look just like yours. After all, your toddler really wants to do whatever you’re doing, so making it look like yours is the best choice. If that’s a 2 x 4 bench, then go ahead make the same thing.
On the other hand, if you have a traditional carpenters bench, then break out the paper and pencil and start planning the same thing for your toddler. This is a very important part of the build, and the faster you agree to this part, the easier the rest will be.
Consider the Size of Your a Toddler
Now that you have an easy reference for your design, it’s time to consider the height of your toddler in relation to the workbench. Now things are going to change over time, but I’ll show you how to deal with that in the next section.
For now, use the same logic for the height of a workbench for an adult as you use for the height of the bench for the toddler. They need to have a bench that comes up tall enough that it’s comfortable to work at.
They also need a bench that’s not so tall that they can use a little leverage from their body weight. Young children are not super strong, so there might be some times where they need to put their body into their work.
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Depending on what you’re going to have them doing out there with you in the shop, decide on the height of their bench based on that and the height they currently stand at. From here, you can add the adjustability component.
See Also: Workbench Restoration
Make the Bench Adjustable
Since your bench top is most likely going to be the star of the show, the easiest way to make your bench adjustable is by making an adjustable base. Thankfully, this isn’t very difficult at all if you plan ahead.
Easiest way to do this is with four flat pieces of wood that slide along the outsides of your workbench base. These can have two cross members on the top that attach to the bottom of the workbench.
As the child gets older, you prop up the benchtop, and fire wood screws through the flat pieces of wood and into the legs of the bench base. This raises the top, and keeps it locked to the base for stability.
If you want a fancier version of this, go online and do a little research on adjustable height workbenches. You can take those same methods and ideas and apply them to your toddler workbench very easily.
See Also: 10 Fun Things to Build With Wood
Smaller Vises and Features
In order to give your young one a full taste of what it is to be a tiny woodworker, you need to make sure that they have similar features on their workbench that you do. This is pretty straightforward though, and you can find the stuff anywhere.
Look for some hardware for a smaller vise. Or, pick up a small vice that can be mounted to the top of the workbench. Mount it, and teach the little toddler how to use it. Vises are a useful tool, and they’ll learn early how helpful they are.
Also, the dog holes and bench dogs are nice for a toddler to have as well, and they make the workbench appear more realistic. Combine that with a good vise, and you’ll actually have a functional element to the bench as well.
See Also: A Beginners Guide to Woodworking
Drawers for their Tools
Understandably so, toddlers are going to have different tools than you do. It’s important to keep the kids safe in the workshop, so the tools are either going to be a little bit smaller, or a little bit different than yours.
It’s important to have a place in the shop where they can keep their stuff, so they don’t get confused about the things that they can use and the things that they can’t. Even though you’ll be out there with them the whole time, it’s still safer.
For this reason, make a set of drawers for underneath the workbench, and they can store all of their goodies right in there. The workbench will feel more like theirs too, because they’re storing all of their personal stuff inside.
If you want to Make a Complete Set of Wooden Kids Tools, you can do that too with my book.
Don’t Skip the Details
This is a big one. Whatever you do, don’t skip the details on the workbench just because it’s for a toddler. If you’re going to make a mini bench, definitely think about making it look like somebody literally used a shrink ray on a normal bench.
Think about these details when you’re making your plan, and have them ready to go when you do your construction. It’s much easier plan for this stuff early on in the process, than it is to add it later when you think about it.
If this bench is for one specific child, then you may even decide to make a little nameplate or plaque for them with their name on it. This can even be a really cool first woodworking project where you build the item together.
The details make a big difference. The more realistic that workbench looks, the better time your child is going to have playing with it.
Hangers for Apron and Safety Glasses
In the interest of safety, consider hanging some hooks on the side of the bench where your toddler can hang an apron and some safety glasses and a face shield. Having all of their safety equipment close will build a really good habit from the start.
For most people, safety is a chore. For me at least it’s because I didn’t use a lot of that stuff in the beginning and now I do. I recognize the difference I feel without being encumbered by any of my gear, so I do still notice the difference.
However, had I started out wearing the gear right from the beginning, that would be all that I would ever know. Start your kids really well in woodworking, and make sure that they have a good appreciation for safety right from the start.
Not only will they be safer in general, but they won’t really know the difference between working without the gear and working with it. Hang those hooks on their bench, and they’ll always have the safety gear right at hand.
See Also: Safety Gear for Woodworkers
Run a Power Strip on the Bench Top
One of the last things you want your little ones doing is messing around with the power. If you run a power strip right to the top of their workbench, you can easily see, supervise, and control what they are using.
Also, it makes it easy for them to gain access to similar things that you have access to on your workbench. Odds are they are not going to use too many power tools, but they may need to plug in something and you’ll be able to see it.
Besides, a well-placed power strip is a nice addition to a woodworking bench. Use a single strip, mount all the wires really nicely so that way they’re not in the way. Secure the strip to the top with a couple screws, and you’re all set.
Add a Nice Shop Light
Finally, your toddler workbench wouldn’t be complete without a nice light. There are a number of different styles that you can choose from, but one of the most versatile is a movable light that’s mounted to the bench.
A quick look on Amazon and you’ll see tons of different lights that you could mount to a carpenter’s bench that will make working a lot easier. These move around, and offer light in exactly the place they need it.
With a child’s young eyes, you definitely don’t want them squinting in the dark or struggling to see things as they are learning to work with their little tools. This is asking for injury, and all you really need is a nice light to help with that.
Your Action Assignment
Now that you’ve seen all these cool ideas about making a workbench for the tiny woodworker in training that you know, it’s time to get out into the shop and take action. Get out your pencil and paper, and start coming up with ideas.
Plan the project very seriously, and make sure that you include all of the details that you would expect on a full-size bench. This isn’t a throwaway project, it’s for the most important little woodworker that you know.
If you have any questions about these tips on making a toddler workbench, please Post a Question and I’ll be glad to answer them. Happy building.
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