Hesperian Health Guides

Tools and Equipment for a Children’s Workshop

Every day 20,000 people visit the HealthWiki for lifesaving health information. A gift of just $5 helps make this possible!

Make a giftMake a gift to support this essential health information people depend on.

HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 49: A Children’s Workshop for Making Toys > Tools and Equipment for a Children’s Workshop

Here are some suggestions for basic equipment. You will want to consider what tools are commonly used and least expensive in your area, and equip the shop accordingly.

Workbenches. You will probably need at least 2, at different heights. One should be just high enough for the local size of children’s wheelchairs to fit under. (Unfortunately, many children are given adult-size wheelchairs with high armrests. These often do not fit under a bench at a good height for working.) Make workbenches strong enough so they do not move a lot.

a child in wheelchair working at a table Child sitting working on toy with legs under low work bench. Child with amputated legs sitting on floor sawing wood. A vise can be mounted
on a post in the ground.
Some children work best at a bench they can sit at in a wheelchair or stool. Some children work best at a very low bench. And some children may work most easily at ground level.

  • vises for holding things firmly — 2 or more

Metal vises to clamp something down.

piece of car tire acts as spring to open vise
  • wood-rasp
Instrument to sand wood.
  • metal file
Metal file.
  • sharp knife
Short knife coming out of large handle.
  • sandpaper
  • handsaws
    at least 2
  • brace and bit or drill with bits of different sizes
brace and bit
  • coping saw (for curved cuts of thin wood)
coping saw
  • glue
bottle of glue
  • hack saw (for cutting metal)
  • square
  • screwdrivers (several of different sizes)
screw driver
  • needles and thread
thread and needle
  • hammer
  • pliers
    with wirecutters
  • strong scissors
More expensive tools

If electricity is available and the program or community can afford it, a few power tools will make work faster, more fun, and more productive for the children. Clearly, care must be taken to avoid highly dangerous equipment. Make sure children take the necessary precautions. Here are some examples of electrical equipment that can make work much easier and faster:

Electric jigsaw.
  • an electric jigsaw for making puzzles, wood animals, and so on
Manual grinding wheel.
  • grinding wheel (hand or electric)
Electric drill with attachments.
  • an electric drill with attachments for sanding and grinding

Sewing machine
  • A sewing machine (foot-powered or electric) will also be helpful in making many toys, dolls, and clothing. If the program can afford it, this machine can speed up sewing greatly, and help children learn an important skill.
CAUTION! Be sure children and all workers use goggles (protective glasses) when using tools where bits of wood or metal could injure eyes.
Protective goggles that tie around head.

Gathering materials and supplies

Explore every opportunity to obtain low- or no-cost materials and supplies for making toys. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Many materials for making toys can be gathered from local forests—branches of trees, reeds, bamboo, wild kapok (cotton). Also various nuts, seedpods, and seashells can be used.
  • Broken fruit-packing boxes often have thin wood that is excellent for toy-making. Even the nails can be pulled out, straightened and re-used.
  • Old tubes of car and bike tires provide elastic bands for many toys.
  • Scraps of wood, wire, and other supplies left over by lumber stores, builders, etc. will often be donated if you explain why you want them.
  • Clothing makers and factories may have scraps of cloth left over.
  • Cardboard cartons, especially thick ones (even if broken) provide material for making many toys. Ask in local shops.
  • Old cans, tins, plastic bottles, thread spools, and so on are also useful.

Ask members of the community to look for and collect these and other supplies.

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018