Two of our grand children are here this weekend and have been making and decorating Christmas ornaments. Also my Grand son wanted to work in my shop and so I directed him toward a crayon holder as a project. He wanted to make a snake from wood that flexes, he thought that slicing almost through the wood from two sides would allow flexing. His plan was possible but it wouldn't stand up to serious kid stresses.
There were a couple of things that I didn't like about his plan, the main problem was that he couldn't do much of the work. I try to keep the project simple and such that he can do as much of the work as possible. And a toy that breaks easily is not a good idea either.
This is one type of crayon holder that is sort of snake like.
Our snake started out a straight piece of poplar. Kieran rounded the top edges with a block plane. As a production item I would round the edges with my router but the block plane is a tool available to a kid. I did a bit of sanding on my 36 inch belt sander. That is a tool that is too aggressive for small hands. Even I get a finger tip polished when using the belt sander occasionally.
We drilled 20 holes in the board for crayons. I held the wood solid and he used the drill press to make the holes. I ripped the snake in half on the band saw, a tool still to grown up for my grand son. Then he used a mitre box and cut the snake into sections.
Once we had the snake cut into sections I cut a strip of leather to go through the middle of the snake. We glued the blocks onto the leather spine. Gluing and clamping are activities that a kid can do.
All we had to do was wait for the glue to set.
This is a quick easy project that can be made with off cuts and limited tools. If you could arrange to make gifts with your kids and or grand kids, that might be the best gift of all.
I have compromised my mixing of kid work and shop work. My plan is to have projects that provide for the minimum amount of watching Opa work time. On the other hand a quick cut on the band saw means we can complete a project within the attention span of an average 7 year old. My criteria for success requires a finished project during the current visit, so short visits mean small projects.