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Hammer time: Workshops that build kids' confidence

Northwest Carpenters Institute hosts free, monthly "Kids Build" sessions for kids 5 to 12. The next one is Sept. 29.

Daniel develops his aim with a hammer and nails.


What do you get when you put a room full of kids together with tools and wood under the guidance of some union carpenters? Delighted kids, for a start, says Lisa Marx, Outreach Coordinator for the Northwest Carpenters Institute, which hosts free, monthly "Kids Build" sessions for kids aged 5 to 12.

The carpenters aren't just about spreading the joy of building useful objects with hand tools; they’re also spreading the word that carpentry and related trades make for rewarding and well-paid careers, with many job openings.

The projects are cut in advance, so kids can put them together using a hammer and nails. There are a number of projects, such as boxes, birdhouses, small benches and bookends, all once-routine projects for entry-level woodshop class.



Victoria Rojo secures the base of her birdhouse.

"It was something that was taken out of the schools, and now a lot of kids don't know about those opportunities," says Marx. The parents enjoy the hand-on classes as well. "It's a great hands-on activity that parents can do with their kids," she says.

The Kids Build classes have a maximum of 30 spaces, and parents are required to escort their kids to classes. The next one is 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Carpenters Training Center, 20424 72nd Ave. S, Kent. Registration required. 253-437-5235

More opportunities for kids

The Seattle area offers a variety of other opportunities for kids to learn about levels, tape measures, hammers and saws.

Kids' Carpentry Seattle offers classes for kids age 6 to 13 at its workshop in Columbia City and at community centers around Seattle. kidscarpentryseattle.com, (509) 850-0460

Seattle ReCreative, based in Greenwood, offers monthly classes for kids 5 and older with caregivers. September's class,"Making Treasure Boxes," is 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 15. Cost is $35. seattlerecreative.org, (206) 297-1528

Coyote Central has pay-what-you-can woodworking courses for youths aged 10 to 15 in its Central District studio. coyotecentral.org, (206) 323-7276

The Center for Wooden Boats offers woodworking courses for kids aged 8 to 16. Each has a suggested price of $230 and takes place over four three-hour sessions on Saturdays in the Center’s South Lake Union location. No experience necessary. Youth Woodworking for Kids introduces kids to hand tools and has them build a couple of simple projects: a toolbox and a birdhouse. Youth Design/Build encourages kids to build things from their own imaginations. cwb.org, (206) 382-2628

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