How cool is it when you're four and your dad makes you your own workbench? Especially if it's nicer than the average bear's! This creation has inspired hours of activity for our little guy. It has real child sized tools with it, including the safety glasses. It even has a handsaw that was his great grampy's. My favorite tool is the drill which is a Fiskar's old fashioned hand crank drill that really works. I've used it!
In this picture, he's got his piece of wood in the vice. It's cranked down and he hammers nails into the wood, saws it, drills it, colors it with markers.... you name it. When he was three, I remember starting to consider if little boys could be trusted to use tools safely. The resounding reply I got from several smart mamas was "ABSOLUTELY!!!"
Now that I see my little guy in action, I get it. He bangs on things anyway. He does big, loud, silly things. He takes risks that make me cringe sometimes, and I'm not a helicopter parent. He has this energy about him that is very, very boy. (Sorry to use the gender stereotype.) But... he can also be sweet and thoughtful and very directed in his activity. Giving him the responsibility for his own tools, the safe use of them, and a proper place to store them, has directed his energy and activity. Really. I'm a total convert. "Got some energy to get out? Why don't you go make something at your workbench, buddy." Bang, bang, bang. Everybody's happy.