Parents: Five Essential Tools to Consider Buying for Your Child

If you have a little one who loves to work with his or her hands, give him or her a set of tools, and let the fun and learning begin. Choosing a few tools and accessories for a young child isn't hard. Here are a few fun options to consider:

1. A tape measure

Even a kid who is too young to use other tools safely can enjoy a tape measure. For toddlers, these are simply fun "toys", but as kids get older, the tape measure can help them measure wood for projects and practise their maths skills.

2. A ratchet and spanner set

As soon as your kid has the fine motor skills to hold a spanner, give him or her a ratchet and spanner set. These tools can help your curious child to remove nuts and bolts or tighten them.

So your kid isn't tempted to take apart too many things that you actually use, buy a few old bicycles form a charity shop and invite your kid to work on those. Taking apart and reconfiguring bicycles and their parts can fill hours for a child who is interested in that.

3. A cordless drill

When you think your child is ready to start working on his or her own creations, a cordless drill is the perfect gift. Look for a lightweight drill that your child can easily hold and control.

Then, buy a box of assorted hardware and a few pieces of scrap lumber and plywood, and let your child build as he or she wishes. With just one cordless drill, your child can make holes, sink screws and fasten things together.

4. A lightweight cutting tool

If your child is old enough to understand the risks of using cutting tools and if you feel comfortable, there are lightweight saws that can work well for kids or pre-teens.

Look for a small handsaw with a comfortable grip that can fit your child's relatively small hand. Alternatively, consider a Japanese-style saw. These saws feature thin blades, and they cut on both the push and the pull stroke, making them even more effective for a potentially impatient child.

5. A tool belt

If your kid likes to dress up or if he or she just likes to keep things organised, consider giving him or her a tool belt. Look for a child-sized belt that can hold all of the tools your child has, and consider augmenting it with work overalls, a hardhat or other construction apparel.