Sunday, January 15, 2012

Just for Dad: 5 Pallet Projects

Just as promised in our previous post, this is the first in our series of posts of hands on activities to help Dad (Abi) get involved in the homeschooling experience.  Especially for those dads who prefer to work with their hands as apposed to diving into some books.  And although dad's are our target audience moms are more than capable of carrying out these tasks, and highly encouraged to do so. 

Before we get started you’re going to want to have some tools.   It is a good idea to have some fix it tools around the house, and if you don't have any then you should go buy some.  Learning to fix minor repairs around the house is a lesson in itself for you and your child.  First it teaches self-reliance, and two your children can learn from all your painful mistakes as you develop your carpentry skills.  Again there’s no point in teaching your children to do as you don’t.  Our children love to mimic us, and leading by example is one of the best teaching methods.

If you do have the tools, great.  If not, then start this lesson with a field trip to your local hardware store and pick up some of the following...

1.       A Hammer
2.       A mallet
3.       Some nails of vairing sizes
4.       A saw
5.       Glue
6.       Sandpaper
7.       A square
8.       A measuring tape

This could be a great field trip exercise, and make for an excellent introduction.  If you call in ahead of time or find the right associate at the store, you may even be able to  have them give you a tour of the store and explain a little bit about what each section of tools and what the different types of materials are used for. 

Back to Palllets… Why pallets?  First and foremost they are free and you can get them anywhere.  Most pallets meet their end in a trash dump, so wherever you take them from they won't be missed.  They most often can be found left out near the trash or you could coordinate with local stores that offload trucks and have extra pallets laying around for you to take.  Most often they just get thrown away so people will be more than happy to let you take them.  This is also an excellent lesson for your child in recycling, and avoiding waste. 

Step One: Break the pallets down.

It is a pretty simple process.  Take the mallet and bang out each side.  Then remove the nails with the back of the hammer, or with a crow bar.   Cut them to appropriate size depending on the project, sand them down and you are ready to go.  Watch this YouTube tutorial for a better idea of how it’s done.

Pick a project
Now you might be wondering the extent of projects that you can accomplish with just some wooden pallets, but the reality is your possibilities are quite extensive from chairs, to bird houses, bed frames, tree houses and more!  Below is a list of five projects that you can start with. 

1.       Project one: Shoe Rack    


                                        2. Project two: Planters or compost bin

3.       Project three: Adirondack Chair 

                                                                          4.       Project four: Coffee Table

5.       Project 5: Bed 

 If you’re looking for more ideas, check out this slide show. (turn off volume for music)

What are you learning with your child in these lessons?At the end of each of these lessons I will try to list several ideas for how you can relate your projects back to the books, and their relative sciences, and or practical applications.

1.      Woodworking tools (what are they, how do you use them)
4.      Carpentry
5.      self sufficiency

Now depending on the age of your child you might be saying to yourself “wait a minute, I’m going to be doing all the work, my child is just going to watch”. Yes Sir!  That’s right, in the beginning your child is going to do a lot of observing, and this is a major part of learning.  The key is to try to incorporate your child into the project at every possible safe moment.  Finishing banging in the last micro millimeter of a nail, sanding down the wood with sandpaper, anything to make them feel involved, and as they become more capable giving them more responsibility during each project.  I hope this lesson works for you and your children and it would be great to see pictures of your projects as you progress.