Tools that every kid should learn to use

Empowering Young Innovators: Essential Tools That Every Kid Should Learn How to Use

In a world brimming with possibilities, nurturing creativity and innovation in our children is more than a responsibility—it’s a gift.

Imagine your kids having the perfect tools that enable you to unleash their creativity and bring their most fantastic ideas to life. Our ability to use tools allows our imagination to fly to new heights.

My journey as a product designer and makerspace educator has been fueled by a deep-seated passion for tools and what they can do for creativity.

My profession led me to constantly seek and test tools that enhance creative expression. Now, stepping into the shoes of a parent, I find myself eager to pass this knowledge of tools on to my daughter.

I’m excited to share my carefully curated list of essential tools that every kid should learn in this article. These are not just gadgets and devices; they are keys to unlocking the boundless potential within our children.

From their early years into their teens, these tools are more than aids; they help them learn, visualize their ideas to the world, and be more creative. As parents, we want the best for our children, and we can do this by knowing the tools that can shape their future.

Join me in exploring this ultimate guide to the tools empowering the next generation of innovators and creators.

The Reason Every Child Needs to Learn How to Use Tools

Understanding and using tools is more than just a practical skill; it is a fundamental step in nurturing a child’s problem-solving ability and thinking creatively. Tools act as a bridge, connecting the colorful world of a child’s imagination to the tangible realities around them.

When children learn to use tools, they are not just manipulating objects but learning to shape their ideas into physical forms. This process is vital for developing critical thinking, enhancing spatial awareness, and fostering an innovative mindset. It transforms abstract concepts into concrete solutions, enabling children to see the direct impact of their thoughts and efforts in the real world.

Ultimately, tools act as translators of a child’s creativity, converting their imaginative sparks into real-world wonders.

Here Are The Tools That Every Kid Should Learn How to Use

The list of tools I suggest parents help their kids learn to use includes digital and traditional tools, and there’s a good reason for it. Kids need both types of tools to become innovative and empowered.

For parents, it’s essential to balance technology and traditional learning methods. While digital devices provide great educational value, combining their use with physical tools is necessary.

This combination ensures a well-rounded learning experience that expands your child’s creative potential and promotes digital literacy and practical, hands-on skills.

Basic Hand Tools

Hand tools are crucial in teaching kids the value of craftsmanship and the joy of creating with their hands.

They foster a deep understanding of mechanics and physics as children learn how things work from the inside out. Moreover, using hand tools builds fine motor skills and cultivates patience, precision, and a sense of accomplishment in young minds.

Essential Hand tools for kids to learn: Kid-friendly Cardboard Cutter, Screwdriver, Hole Puncher, Plier, Hammer, Wrench, Wire cutter, Tape Measure

Simple Electronic Devices

Simple electronic devices like a mini microscope, a calculator, and a basic digital camera are gateways to a world of discovery and learning for children.

The Mini Microscope magnifies the wonders of the microscopic world, sparking curiosity in science and nature, while a calculator enhances mathematical understanding and problem-solving abilities. A basic digital camera encourages creativity and visual storytelling, teaching children to observe and capture the beauty and intricacies of their surroundings.

Essential electronic devices for kids to learn:  Calculator, Basic Digital Camera, Mini Microscope.

Computing Devices

Computing devices such as kid-friendly tablets, basic coding kits, educational robots, and interactive eBook readers are invaluable in today’s digital age.

They play a crucial role in fostering essential technological literacy in children by introducing them to primary computer and graphic design skills. These skills pave the way for future STEM/Computer Science learning and enhance creativity and problem-solving abilities.

Essential computing devices for kids to learn: Kid-friendly tablets, Kid-friendly laptops, Kid-friendly microcontrollers, Educational robots, and Interactive eBook readers.

Drawing Tools

Drawing tools such as rulers, compasses, protractors, and set square triangles are fundamental in developing a child’s understanding of geometry, precision, and spatial relationships. These tools teach children the importance of accuracy and detail, which are essential in many areas of learning and future professional fields.

Additionally, they encourage spatial thinking, allowing children to explore the world of design and engineering from a young age.

Essential Drawing Tools for Kids to Learn: Ruler, Compass, Protractor, Set Square Triangles

3D Printers

3D printers are a fantastic tool for modern education, giving children a hands-on experience in bringing their imaginative ideas to life in physical forms.

3D printing technology introduces kids to design, engineering, and technology principles, fostering a 360-degree understanding of how digital concepts can be manifested in the real world.

In addition, using 3D printers helps children develop spatial thinking, problem-solving, and creativity skills, empowering them to influence the world through their creations.

My favorite 3D Printer for Kids: Bambu Lab A1 Mini

Coding and Design Apps

Coding and design apps are crucial for kids today. They teach programming and design skills, which are essential for many careers.

These apps blend creativity and technical skills, making them accessible and engaging for young minds. They also prepare children for the future by fostering adaptability, problem-solving, and a deep understanding of the digital world.

My Favorite Design and Coding Apps for Kids: Scratch Jr., Scratch and TinkerCAD

The Easiest Way to Introduce Tools to Kids

If done right, introducing tools to children can be an enjoyable and educational experience.

The key is to start with a simple, straightforward activity that captures their attention. For instance, fixing a toy with a screwdriver can yield a tangible outcome they can easily comprehend and take pride in.

Designoteca gathers a growing selection of at-home stem learning activities you can browse by your kid’s interests and age.

Another idea to make learning a tool both practical and fun is to integrate it into your child’s routine. You might incorporate measuring tools while cooking or use a ruler during crafts to help them understand how these tools work in real-world scenarios.

This approach helps demystify tools and makes learning a seamless part of everyday life, leading to a better understanding of their relevance.

What to Prepare Before Introducing a New Tool to a Child

Before introducing a new tool to a child, it’s essential to instill a sense of safety and responsibility. Begin by selecting a tool you are familiar with as a parent. This familiarity allows you to guide your child confidently and effectively. With older children and more advanced tools, you can make learning about the tool a collaborative activity.

I call this creative bonding time.

But there is one thing you must do before introducing a new tool or technology to your kids: Establish and communicate clear guidelines (rules) for its use, setting the tone for a structured approach to handling the tool.

Clear rules are crucial for children as it helps them understand what is expected of them and promote their safety. Rules for using tools provide structure and direction to their usage and ensure they know their boundaries.

21 Tool Introduction Activities for Quick Inspiration

Customizing a Picture Frame:

Using pliers, wire cutters, and screwdrivers, kids can customize a wooden picture frame. They can learn how to safely handle different tools while being creative.  #BasicHandTools

Cardboard Fort Building:

Construct a cardboard fort using simple boxes, tape, and scissors. Collaborate with your children to design the layout, cut out windows and doors, and decorate it with markers, paint, or fabric scraps. This hands-on project cultivates practical skills, fosters imaginative play, and brings the family together for some quality bonding time. #BasicHandTools

Repair a Simple Appliance:

Under supervision, let the child use screwdrivers and wrenches to open and explore a non-functioning appliance, like a toaster or an old radio, to understand its mechanics. #BasicHandTools

Nature Exploration with a Mini Microscope:

Go on a backyard or park exploration to collect exciting objects like leaves, insects, or rocks. Use the mini microscope to observe and document these findings, encouraging an interest in biology and the natural world. #SimpleElectronicDevices

Photo Scavenger Hunt with a Digital Camera:

Before going on a walk, create a list of items or scenes to capture with a basic digital camera. When you return, see how many things on the list were caught on camera. This activity can help children learn about photography while exploring their environment. #SimpleElectronicDevices

Calculator Math Games:

Create a series of math challenges or puzzles the child can solve using a calculator. This can range from simple arithmetic to more complex problems, depending on their age. #SimpleElectronicDevices

Time-Lapse Photography with a Digital Camera:

Teach children to capture a time-lapse video of a sunset, a growing plant, or cloud movements using a basic digital camera. It’s a great way to introduce them to the concept of time in photography. #SimpleElectronicDevices

Keyboarding Practice:

Encourage children to practice keyboarding. This activity can be done using a basic word processor or a kid-friendly typing platform. #ComputingDevices

Story Creation on a Kid-Friendly Tablet:

Encourage children to write and illustrate a short story using a drawing app on a kid-friendly tablet. This activity blends creative writing with digital art skills. #ComputingDevices

Robot Obstacle Course with an Educational Robot:

Design a simple obstacle course and use a kid-friendly robot to navigate it. This activity introduces basic coding and problem-solving skills. #ComputingDevices

Geometric Art with Rulers and Compasses:

Create art pieces using only rulers and compasses and set square triangles. This activity can help children understand shapes, symmetry, and design principles. #DrawingTools

Map Making:

Have children create a map of their room, house, or neighborhood using these tools. This activity teaches spatial awareness and basic cartography skills. #DrawingDevices

Architectural Drawing of Their Dream Room:

Have children design their dream bedroom or play area using rulers, compasses, and protractors, teaching them the basics of architectural drawing.#DrawingDevices

DIY Sundial:

Use drawing tools to design and create a sundial. This project combines art with basic astronomy and teaches children how to tell time using shadows. #DrawingDevices #BasicHandTools

Design and Print a Keychain:

Use simple CAD software to design a personalized keychain and then print it using a 3D printer. This introduces kids to basic 3D modeling and printing processes. #3DPrinters

Customize and Print 3D Jewelry or Accessories:

Design simple items like bracelets, rings, or keychains and print them. This can be a fun way to introduce fashion and accessory design. #3DPrinters

Create and Print Components for a Board Game:

Have kids design and print their own board game pieces or entire games, combining creativity with strategic thinking and planning. #3DPrinters

Design a Dream House in TinkerCAD:

Use TinkerCAD to design a simple model of a house. This activity helps children understand spatial planning and the basics of architectural design. #CodingAndDesignTools

Virtual Garden Design in TinkerCAD:

Design a virtual garden or landscape, teaching elements of environmental science and digital design. #CodingAndDesignTools

Interactive Story Creation in Scratch Jr.:

Use the rich graphics gallery and Lego-like interface to program an interactive story that changes based on your clicks. #CodingAndDesignTools

Animate Your Name on Scratch:

Encourage your child to code different effects for each letter of their name. Following one of the official tutorials from Scratch with your kid can be pretty fun. This introduces them to the fundamentals of programming and interactive storytelling. #CodingAndDesignTools

Exploring and Progressing with Your Child

When helping your kid explore and learn new things, remember that it’s essential to encourage them to be curious and try things out.

Start with tools you feel comfortable with and then try new ones together.

If a tool seems too tricky, it might be too soon for your kid to use.

In that case, try using an alternative tool and reassure your child that mastery will come with time.

Now it’s your turn.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. My main objective was to share essential tools to help children enhance their creative abilities.

The journey of fostering creativity is ongoing and ever-evolving, much like the growth we wish to inspire in our children. Each new tool unlocks a whole new world of potential and opportunity.

If you would like to learn more about all of the tools shared here, visit our kid-friendly tool guide, where you will find information about each of the tools mentioned here and much more.

For a deeper dive into creativity, I invite you to explore our ‘Creative Skills for Kids and Teens: Ultimate Guide for Parents’.

Happy Making!

Henrique Monnerat Avatar