Discover the joy of woodworking

Image credit: Touchwood

In the first of our mini-series dedicated to making things, we explore the lost art of woodworking with Touchwood, the craft arm of Ground-Up Initiative.

Touchwood aims to nurture a do-it-yourself spirit in both kids and adults. In a growing consumerist society that encourages the buying and accumulation of stuff, taking the time to make things helps us appreciate how they are produced. The process of making engages our senses and helps us connect and respond with the physical world around us better. Woodworking demands complete focus and attention but is a fantastic outlet for creativity, fostering imagination and utilising problem solving skills.

Francophone Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “Put a young man in a workshop, his hands will work to the benefit of his brain, and he will become a philosopher while thinking himself only a craftsman.”

What does woodworking involve?
All workshops at Touchwood start with an idea that you translate into a sketch. After selecting the appropriate material, you have to figure out how to configure the wood pieces, which come in varying lengths and sizes. Then you assemble, sand and smoothen the wood, before painting your finished product.

Benefits of woodworking
“Woodworking allows children to pick up problem solving skills, overcome challenges by experimenting and devising solutions to design problems. In woodworking, every problem you encounter has a solution. Are we using right type of tool? Is this the best method? Did we use the right adhesive? These are simple questions that woodworkers will have to confront and think through,” explains Khin Boon, the founder of Touchwood.

For younger children, woodworking can be a rich sensory experience. They are encouraged to explore and feel the wood that they are working with by noting the grain, the varying textures, the weight, differences in the different types of wood, and even the smell of the wood.  Besides improving their hand eye coordination and motor skills, kids are observing, counting, and measuring all at once. The intense concentration required also helps develop focus and discipline.

Fun, laughter and confidence
In the toy car and woody friend workshop targeted at younger kids, children have to communicate their ideas and plans to their parents, and get help sketching an accurate model of the product. According to Khin Boon, this is one of the highlights of the workshop as it conjures up many light-hearted moments between parent and child.

Being empowered to make decisions builds self-confidence and demonstrates to your child that they can create anything if they put their mind to it. Nothing delights children more than to say “I made this myself, mum and dad!”

Learn alongside your child
At Touchwood, parents are strongly encouraged to learn alongside their children, and encourage and support them through the whole process. Oftentimes during woodworking, children might feel like giving up when they meet with a difficult design challenge. By working through challenges with your child, you impart important values like perseverance and adaptability.

Interested in woodworking? Check out these courses:

Basic Woodworking 3 day Workshop
Ages 10 and up
What: Learn the basics of woodworking from carpentry skills to handling tools.
When: March 14 to 16, 9.30am
Click here for details.

Foosball Table Making
Ages 10 and up
What: Make your very own portable foosball table.
When: March 13, 9.30am to 1.30pm
Click here for details.

Toy Car Making
Ages 5 and up
What: In this 1.5 hour workshop, kids get to assemble their own personalised wooden toy.
When: March 13, 3pm to 4.30pm
Click here for details.

Family Woody Friend Making
Ages 5 and up
What: Design a toy car from an assortment of wooden parts.
When: March 17, 2.30pm to 5pm
Click here for details.

This March holiday, discover the joy of designing and building your very own wooden furniture, shelf or toy with your kids!

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