Why do we do wood crafts in Scouting?

Because wood crafts are a hands-on activity that stimulate the body’s second sense: touch. Wood crafts give Scouts an opportunity to discipline themselves enough to follow instructions. They are also a way to literally build memories. Each craft that is constructed is a keepsake that the Scout can take home and cherish forever. Lastly, it builds confidence. When a boy can take a pile of wood and create a bird house or a catapult, they are building their self-confidence through hard work, listening, and achieving by finishing the project.

Want to build your Scouts’ confidence but don’t know where to start? First think about types of wood projects. To get ideas just ask someone or even look up ideas on the internet. You can decide if you want your Scouts doing assemble and glue kits or hammer and nail kits. You can also choose what kind of wood you want to use (density, color). Do you want pre-cut wood or will you be cutting the wood during the project? Do you plan on having a story to go along with the activity that may explain why they are building a small wooden train? All these choices will need to be made to have a successful wood craft activity.

Are costs holding you back? Here are some money saving tips:

  • Ask for donations.
  • Browse yard sales, auctions, estate sales for tools and supplies.
  • Ask for a Scout discount.
  • “Make It and Take It” wood crafts. You can find these at Lowes, Home Depot, Michael’s, etc.
  • Buy in quantity.
  • Cut your own wood pieces.
  • Individual kits, (great for emergency projects).

DSC_0379Don’t forget about safety. Generally, working with wood crafts, you don’t plan on using knives but power tools may be involved. If that is the case, Scouts may be allowed to operate the power tools under close adult supervision (this excludes Cub Scouts). If no power tools are involved in the activity, you still need close adult supervision when working with hammer and nails or even glue. Overall, be smart and aware of what is going on when Scouts are working on these projects, whether power tools are involved or not.

Helping youth do a craft can take a lot of patience. First, remember why you are doing the craft; you want to help your Scouts achieve confidence. Next, read the instructions and do what they say. Remember, there are three ways to teach: 1) Drill Sergeant: Tell them exactly how they are going to do it, 2) Helicopter: Hover over the boy and in the end do it for them, 3) Coach: Coach them and let them figure it out. Guide them when needed. The third option is where learning really takes place. Some boys are quick and you can have them help others who are having a harder time figuring it out.

2013-dc-woodGive your Scouts the opportunity to work with their hands. Don’t let budgets and short patience restrict the boys from learning and growing. Creating something from nothing is an accomplishment that everyone should have a chance to do. Remember to be safe and make it fun. Coach your Scouts and let them do it. This exercise can and will build your Scouts’ self confidence. What will you be planning for your next Scout activity?

Maloree Anderson
Maloree is a photographer, graphic designer, Ravenclaw, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.

One comment

  1. Darryl Alder
    Darryl Alder says:

    A few years ago at Scout EXPO one exhibitor let us brand Scout emblems into wood that we then assembled into bird houses. Our daughter was small then and now is an adult. The bird house reminds me of the excitement she had as she built that first project, proving the this works well for all kids, not just Cub Scouts.
    Maloree thanks for bringing back good memories.

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