Woodshop For Kids

Woodshop for Kids has you everything you’ll need to know to get kids (ages 4-12) started using real tools to build real projects. Safety, tools, wood, measuring, hammering, nails and screws are discussed. Included are many tricks gleaned from Jack’s 15 plus years of helping kids build with wood. Construction details for 52 projects are given. Projects range from the very simple like wood sanding, tops or puzzles for preschoolers to the more advanced like boxes, boats, yahoo stick or rope machine for older elementary age kids. Included are many photographs of kid created projects.


  • Paperback: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Hands On Books, Copyright, 1st printing 2005, 2nd printing 2008, 3rd printing 2010, 4th printing 2012
  • Available from Follett Library Resources, Amazon, or Hands On Books

  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884894534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884894534
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds


  • ….excellent advice on safety and tools. …(the) projects are designed to excite kids not overwhelm them.
    Asa Christiana, Editor, Fine Woodworking
  • If you have children or grandchildren buy this book. It’s likely one of the best investments you’ll make. in 2006.
    Canadian Woodworker
  • Woodworking instructor McKee advocates teaching woodcraft to children with projects they will actually enjoy-games, instruments, and toys. He covers safety at length……..the project instructions are well thought out. …..recommended.
    Library Journal
  • I love this book! Woodshop for Kids is great guide to growing a new generation of creative kids.
    Roy Underhill, host of PBS’s The Woodright’s Shop
  • ….a breath of fresh air…
    Deb Curtis, childcare teacher, author and adult educator
  • You thought of everything! I wish I’d found this book years ago.
    Cynthia Dyer, Nanaimo Montessori
  • …I’m particularly happy to see a book like this one. Maybe if we had more opportunities for kids to be active and creative, then we wouldn’t have as much trouble “keeping kids in seats.” …….It’s renewed my faith that there is hope for teaching our children self-sufficiency through kinesthetic modalities. I highly recommend this book.
    Fran Roberson, toteachateacher.com
  • With the demise of the shop class and the rise of the Xbox and iPod, fewer kids than ever are working with their hands. That leaves parents and grandparents wondering how to introduce young people to the pleasure of building things. The trick is choosing projects that children will actually do, and safely. Enter Jack McKee…….his 52 projects include toys, games, gadgets, musical instruments, signs, stools, stilts and boxes, all designed to excite kids, not overwhelm them. Introductory chapters give excellent advice on safety and tools. All I had to do was leave this book lying around; my 8-year-old daughter found it and picked her projects.
    Asa Christiana, Editor, Fine Woodworking
  • Woodshop for Kids by Jack McKee is a breath of fresh air. The toys and activities available in today’s world do not challenge children to be inventive, creative or to learn skills that are useful for meaningful work. Jack’s book reflects a different view of children’s capabilities and the kinds of activities that will engage their minds and enhance their confidence. Woodshop for Kids systematically and simply demonstrates how to help children of all ages use real tools and make useful objects. Any adult whether knowledgeable about woodworking or not, can become a good teacher as well as a more skilled woodworker themselves. Thanks Jack, for putting us back on the right track in our work with children.
    Deb Curtis, child care teacher, author and adult educator
  • The author’s love of children and of wood shine throughout this book….52 very interesting and well written projects.
    The Michael Olaf Catalog
  • Woodshop for Kids is a great guide to mentoring youngsters, or non-mechanically-handy adults in woodshop practices.
    Kevin Jones, Director, Mindport Exhibits
  • Far too many books that are supposedly geared towards a child’s level of ability and interest seem to have been written for adults who will wind up doing most of the work as the projects exceed what a child might be able or interested in doing. Not so with Woodshop for Kids.  From a library perspective, I know Woodshop for Kids will be used often.
    Ann Garland, Former president, Dyer Library Board of Trustees, Saco, Maine
  • As a Montessori teacher, I am always looking for activities that encourage problem solving, build independence and confidence, and allow for individual creativity. The projects in Woodshop for Kids are a perfect fit!
    Kathie Wilson, Childlife Montessori School
  • ……a thoroughly “user friendly” guidebook of creative and entertaining woodworking projects……
    Midwest Book Review
  • Jack McKee’s love of children and wood, his fond memories of old-time toys, his passion for recycling, and his ability to learn from his own children and students makes this book a gem for those who want to do woodworking with kids.
    Jean Swanson, a grandparent, after building some of Jack’s projects with her grandson
  • The wonder of this book is that I could even use it with my limited woodshop and tool experience……
    Stephanie D Scarborough, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine
  • I just finished my first week of a woodworking summer camp called Craftsmen Kids. It was a ton of fun! I can’t thank you enough for the advice and projects. I hope to start an after school program and definitely have more camps next summer. Thank you again for all your help.
    Brian Kaplan, Craftsmen Kids summer camp
  • Woodshop for Kids is a real treat for parents and grandparents who want to introduce woodworking to their little ones.
    Jennifer Hicks, Woodshop News
  • What’s the best saw for a child? What’s the best hammer? How do you introduce kids (and possibly yourself) to woodworking? Those are among the many questions that woodworker Jack McKee answers in an easy-to-understand guide, Woodshop for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build (Hands On Books, Bellingham WA).The father of two, McKee spent 15 years teaching young children how to handle tools before he put together a practical book that spells out how to set up a workshop for children, especially one to accommodate a group: for example, a scout or Campfire group or an after-school or weekend class. His guidelines have been carefully tested, with children as young as preschool, including 3–6-year-olds in a Montessori school. He’s also worked with preschool teachers and parents, to provide them the basics they need when working with children.Scared about the prospect of letting young children handle tools? “Woodshop for Kids” emphasizes the safety—and the value—of using hand tools. It also discusses appropriate supervision, and protection, such as safety glasses. Power tools, even battery-operated drills, need not be introduced until a project requires hundreds of repetitive actions and when adequate adult supervision is available.We like this book for many reasons, including the how-to’s on cutting thin pieces of wood, identifying different kinds of drills, and selecting sandpaper. Projects range from puzzle blanks, small sculptures, dollhouse furniture, airplanes, and boats to marble rolls, boxes, and a kaleidoscope. What we really, really like, however, are the life lessons that woodworking can teach. As McKee notes, “kids learn to help each other. . .They begin to learn how to plan and organize a project and to solve problems when things don’t go as expected.”Children become more self-reliant, he continues, and those who often rush learn to slow down. “Many kids who don’t do well in school find they excel at building,” says the author, and by the second or third day of a class, “Kids actually listen when I explain construction details.”
    Linda Carlson – Parenting Press