Real Tools | Day 16 – 30 Days TYP

30 Days TYP Day 16 Real Tools {An Everyday Story}contains affiliate links

‘ The more real world materials your child can hold and examine, the better… let the artefacts accumulate slowly over time, in an organic and meaningful way…let [your child] build and curate the collection’

Project-Based Homeschooling

Working with Real Tools - 30 Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story}

Day 16 of our 30 Days to Transform Your Play series and we are talking about real tools.

Real tools. Materials from the real world, rather than a plastic-toy alternative are so appealing to children. Being able to pretend, create and invent with authentic materials gathered from here and there is very satisfying; feeling the differently weighted materials, the different textures, the colours and all the working parts, it is hard to resist.

Along with materials to play with, real tools in child-sized versions allow children to experience the world in a fuller capacity; child-sized kitchen utensils offer a more enjoyable baking experience and child-sized gardening tools means they can dig and plant happily without lugging a large heavy tool (or an unsatisfying cheap plastic one).

Real tools for inquiry; magnifying glasses, binoculars as well as tools for creative expression; digital/film camera, modelling tools, sculpting tools, mean the child can delve right into their interests with tools that work. They can focus on refining their skills or building on their knowledge rather than being hindered with ‘kiddy’ versions which are often poor quality.

Real Tools:

In the playroom:

  • dress-ups – we’ll be talking more about dress-ups next week but for now…
    • doctors’ kit – stethoscope, bandages, tongue pressers, notebook for prescription pad, glasses, cue tips, band-aids
    • old work clothes – hard-hats, high-vis vests, army hats, belts…
  • old telephones and phone books
  • old tv remotes
  • calculators
  • old computer keyboard
  • typewriter
  • bibs ‘n’ bobs – we’ll often go to the tip shop and fill a bag with various things like
    • old power switches
    • mirrors
    • light covers
    • springs
    • pipes…anything really which takes their fancy. They’ll use these things for inventing and pretend play
  • musical instruments – percussion instruments are reasonably priced at music stores and sound infinitely better than plastic or toy ones from a toy shop

In the kitchen:

Montessori in the Kitchen - Cooking with Children: Child-sized Cooking Utensils

  • tongs
  • wooden spoon
  • mixing bowl
  • whisk
  • grater
  • vegetable cutters and knives
  • chopping board
  • vegetable brush – we use mushroom brushes from Wheel & Barrow. They are the perfect size for little hands
  • vegetable peeler
  • child-sized apron
  • measuring cups
  • rolling pin

In the garden:

  • metal spade
  • metal garden fork
  • bucket
  • watering can

In the art cupboard:

For creating:

Photography with children {An Everyday Story}For exploring:

reggio emilia project based learning space and solar system preschooler using telescope {An Everyday Story}

You might already have many of these around your home; get them out, pop them in a basket or on their own shelf in an inviting way.

So tell me, what are your favourite real tools and which ones would you like to add to your home?

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning


Stay up-to-date with each post in the series by subscribing to An Everyday Story and receive each new post in your inbox. Just enter your email address in the box in the side menu.

12 comments on “Real Tools | Day 16 – 30 Days TYP”

  1. Amy

    My son (4) absolutely loves screwdrivers, spanners and allen keys! He’s always helping his Dad. Thanks for the great post and list. I’m inspired to add real binoculars and I’ve been on the lookout for a decent magnifying glass too.

    • Kate

      My kids love screwdrivers too. Sarah and Daddy were putting together a chicken coop yesterday and Sarah just loved using the screwdriver to put the screws it. Such wonderful, meaningful play 🙂

  2. Kaly

    “Along with materials to play with, real tools in child-sized versions allow children to experience the world in a fuller capacity; child-sized kitchen utensils offer a more enjoyable baking experience and child-sized gardening tools means they can dig and plant happily without lugging a large heavy tool (or an unsatisfying cheap plastic one).”

    I love this, Kate! You put to words what I should have known all along! I think back to last year, during planting and gardening season, and I can totally see why children would rather work (play) with real tools! I remember how my boys would argue over who would get the metal tool and who would get the plastic tool – they were essentially the same, and adult size to boot, but they always wanted the more authentic, metal tool. Very interesting, I love it!

    I’m looking forward to our planting/gardening season this year, and making our flood-raveged yard look normal again. It will be a lot of work, and the boys will inevitably want to help. I must get them both a set of metal tools so they can work alongside Mama!

    Oh, and our favorite authentic tools are musical instruments. They are always in the rotation because they never seem to get old or boring. As a musician myself, I know the importance of having authentic instruments – I continue to add to our collection as I find worthy instruments.

  3. Betina Weir

    Loved reading your list and realizing we use most of those tools already 🙂 my kids are both super excited and waiting on the arrival of our real medical tools coming in the mail this week hopefully! They check the mail everyday waiting for our special goodies to add to the kit 🙂

  4. Elle

    This post is great! I have most of the plastic toys packed away because my kids never play with them but I never thought to get them real ones. I’ll be keeping my eyes out in the second hand shops for things we don’t already have!

  5. Bek @ Just For Daisy

    I love being reminded of this and you’ve given me so many great new ideas. It’s so wonderful to see how children respond to real tools! 🙂 Thanks for another wonderful post – really loving this series!
    We’re going to embark on some ‘real’ sewing after Miss Daisy LOVED helping to cut/stuff and sew a toy pony recently! 🙂

    • lydia purple

      our favorite real tool as kids was a hand drill… it requires some skill to work it but is so fun and way safer than electric drills. i think i gonna search ebay for one…

  6. kaylea

    My little one loves the tape measure…I am going to get him a small one. When his Dad is doing some DIY he loves looking in his toolbox and trying things out. We will go to the DIY shop this weekend and stock up on child-size real things!

  7. Ester

    I am loving this series! The post was especially affirming- our families/friends have always given us a hard time about us giving our daughter “real” tools. She got her first tool set when she was 3 and has always been my kitchen assistant with real child size rolling pins and cutters and etc. There is more of a “wrap your child in cotton wool” philosophy here that is at odds with our focus on science, creativity, and competence.

  8. Christine

    I recall buying my stepson some nuts and bolts to ‘play’ with to help him practice his fine motor skills, much cheaper than the plastic ones floating around!

Comments are closed.

Transform your approach to play in just 30 days.

Tap into your child's interests to create meaningful play & learning experiences.