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Here’s something many of us can relate to: as young kids, we all start out as tool gophers. It’s not a bad gig, it helps you to learn the names of everything, but often puts you in the backseat of a project. For certain power tools, the specter of the tool gopher can wend its way well into adolescence. ToolKid is a company that looks to buck that trend and bring kids into an active role in building things with other kids and alongside adults alike.

Based in the Netherlands, ToolKid has assembled a thoughtful kit of tools that are built specifically for small hands and growing minds.

They sent me a big orange bag full of hand tools, accessories– even a power drill! After reading the instructions (printed on plastic sheets!) I invited my young friends Eva and Izzie over to build something. I was prepared for a birdhouse or a box, but after chatting and drawing it was decided– we would be building a house with a curved, skylit roof for their cat, Mookie.

I thought we were biting off a bit more than we could chew, but sure enough, we completed a working version of our prototype in a couple of afternoons. Granted, I did use some of my own power tools, but both Eva and Izzie had a hand in every part of the house. From hammering to sawing, drilling, and screwing, it was great to have two eager kids be able to participate in a project alongside me. They could have had a larger share of the work if I had planned ahead more. Pro tip: if you want kids to plow through 3/8″ wood with hand saws, give them soft pine instead of plywood.

The full Toolkid kit retails for $210.00 and has special attention brought to ergonomics, weight, and usability for children.

It’s hard to describe how the ToolKid tools really just work so well for young ones without showing them to you. Check out my comments on both the tools and the build above.

Michael Colombo

In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens’ educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program.


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