5 Tool Skills to Learn Indoors

kids-tape-measureIf you live in small space or apartment and have limited access to an outdoor project space, you can still teach and learn valuable hand tool skills. These five are indispensable.

1. Tape Measure
Children learn to use rulers early in school and a tape measure is just an extension of that (literally). The unrolling of a tape measure can be fun and learning what the increments of measurement mean and how to add fractions can be a great lesson. Learning to use a lock on a tape measure and using the tape measure in a real world application such as measuring a chair to fit through a doorway is a practical way of teaching.

2. Level
A bubble level is an easy tool to teach by simply placing the level across any flat service and seeing if the bubble lines up between the two lines. There are also bubble levels that lay flat and you place the bubble in the center circle. A fun game is seeing how level shelves, countertops and desks are around the house.

3. Screwdrivers
You can teach a child how to drive screws and remove them indoors by simply finding something to take apart that uses screws. Use examples with a flat head and phillips head screws.

4. Wirecutters
Learn to strip, cut and splice wires with just a wire cutter, old wires and wire nuts.

5. Pliers
Pliers of both the slip joint and needle nose variety are a great way to show kids how to manipulate all types of objects. From loosening bolts to removing hard to reach nuts.

As seen in
Built by Kids Press - New York Times, Webby Awards, Real Simple, Popular Mechanics, InStyle

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  • Paul621 - Massachusetts
    27 May ’12 at 9:20 am

    Using a tape measure !!!     GREAT !

    I am retired, but taught 5th-grade level kids.

    Many had issues with basic math.

    The BEST thing that helped all understand was to
    learn to use a ruler and tape measure to measure “stuff”
    around them, like a desktop, for example.

    It gave us all a great practical opportunity to use
    the “numbers” and learn how to visualize what the
    relationships were, longer=larger numbers, etc.
    Break into smaller increments, like 12″ is two 6″ lengths, etc.