My kids and I recently bought two books by Lester Walker: Carpentry For Children
and Housebuilding For Children
. We all thoroughly enjoyed looking through the books and found them exciting and inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that my children immediately decided to spend their birthday money on their own sets of tools and set to work at once! When we got back from the hardware store, my 5 year old son carefully set his new T-square to a scrap 2x4, penciled in a line, and started his cut - all by himself. He was thrilled! It took him more than 45 minutes of determined effort to saw through that board, and his pride in his accomplishment was well worth the price of the books!
Both books are simply written - most 7 to 10 year olds should have no trouble following the directions with minimal or no adult assistance. There are line drawings and diagrams on every page, as well as photographs of children hammering, sawing, drilling, and assembling and using their carpentry projects. But these are far from being dumbed-down books. Older children and adults will also appreciate the clear, detailed instructions on buying and using tools and setting up a workshop, and the step-by-plans.
For each book, Les Walker worked with his son, Jess (7 years old at the time Housebuilding For Children
was written, and 12 in Carpentry for Children
) and a group of other children, who built all of the projects illustrated in the books. Carpentry For Children
contains projects ranging in complexity from a tug-boat and block set through stilts, lemonade stand, easel, and coaster car. The instructions make the success seem very attainable even for the youngest carpenters, and the finished projects look like a lot of fun.
In the introduction to Housebuilding For Children
, Walker writes, "This book is written for young people who want to build houses just as older people do." He delivers the goods, with designs for six child-sized houses that will satisfy any aspiring builder. My children are eagerly looking forward to building their sawing and hammering skills so that they can build some of the practice projects and, eventually, a house of their own (Walker instructs his readers to saw 100 cuts and drive 100 nails for practice before starting on a serious project.)
I was looking for a purposeful, outdoor, independent activity on which to direct some of my son's energy! These books provided that, and he will be developing skills and confidence that should last him all his life.
We are so pleased to have Sora share this book review and photo of her son, Aedean, with us! Sora Colvin is the author of a wonderful new Bible history music project called Kingdom Songs. You can read all about it at www.belovedbooks.com!