As all dads know, fixing stuff is satisfying. Kids know this, too, and, understandably, want in: most kids love to “fix” and “build” (ie., bang things together) with play tools. But a great kids’ tool set, one that looks good and is well made, goes way beyond just being an engaging and fun toy. Not only are tool sets a solid way for kids to burn off some energy, they also help kids develop fine and gross motor skills and hone hand-eye coordination, because pounding a hammer or working a saw takes effort and focus.
Tools are also what are called “real-world toys,” which mimic what kids see parents using when we’re doing our real-world, grown-up things, like pruning bushes or drilling a screw into the wall. Real-world toys help kids, especially younger ones, to make sense of the world around them and understand how things work.
When choosing tool sets, tool belts, or outdoor gardening toys, make sure they’re the right size for your children to easily manage on their own and don’t have any sharp edges. And go for toys that aren’t battery-powered, because the more a toy does, the less a kid’s imagination has to work. We opted for mostly wood tools here because frankly, they look better than most of their plastic counterparts and have more thoughtful details.
The Best Kids Tool Sets
Get ready for it: A beautiful wood tool kit that transforms into a robot. Yes, this 16-piece set includes a hammer, wrench with screwdriver, nuts and bolts, and a tool box that can be flipped upside-down and assembled into a robot. Twice the craftiness, for kids 3 and up.
This handsome wood set includes everything kids need to build their dream house: a saw, hammer, drill, screwdriver, wrench, pliers, and a pencil and notebook to track the progress of projects. It also comes in a handsome wooden case to transport and store pieces when not in use.
Kids 4 and up who are big on imagination but short on space get a compact toolbox that lets them conduct six experiments. Kids can learn about momentum, potential energy, and gravity using levers, pulleys, and wheels.
The 15-piece kit, which includes a toolbox, Phillips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, hammer, saw, wrench, pliers, two-hole connectors, nails, bolts, and nuts, is crafted from recycled milk jugs and is phthalate- and BPA-free. The company also uses a U.S.-based supply chain, which reduces greenhouse gases and saves energy. It’s for ages 2 and up.
The Best Kids Tool Benches
A perfect blend of tools and scientific gear, this workbench unleashes kids' inner makers. It comes with 79 pieces of kiddie equipment that help them learn about gravity, gears, wind, and light, so kids (4 and up) can bang stuff around while learning about gravity and energy — and then bang stuff some more.
No DIY project is too big for kids armed with this beautiful wooden workbench. It's great for builders 3 and up, and includes a functioning vise, a tool rack, wooden tools, and hardware. Clear away the tools, and it can be used as a crafting table.
The Best Kids Tool Belts
This tool belt is cool because it has an actual, functional measuring tape that retracts after use. Hours of fun. Plus it comes with a hammer, screwdriver, and saw with real wooden handles, and soft doughnut because, well, you always need a treat. Right. It's great for kids 2 and up.
PlanToys is committed to sustainability and toxin-free toys, as exemplified by its cute tool belt. While not the most realistic, the tools (for ages 3 and up) may be the most eco-friendly. Sustainably sourced rubber tree wood is strengthened through a chemical-free kiln-drying process, bonded with formaldehyde-free glue, and colored using organic pigments and water-based dyes.
This eight-piece tool belt includes a hammer, wrench, screwdriver, pliers, ratchet, and a tape measure, and it talks! The belt makes three different tool sounds and says two phrases, and is easily adjustable.
The Best Kids Gardening Tools
Nurture green thumbs with this child-sized but operational gardening kit. Kids 5 and up get three pots with a peapod-shaped tray, a trowel, and three packs of organic seeds so they can grow actual, real plants. It can be used indoors, too.
This thoughtful gardening set for kids 3 and up includes a sturdy wood wheelbarrow, three seed packets, and three flower pots with play plants. When it's time to care for the real thing, kids are armed with a watering can, trowel, and secateurs.
For kids who want to help their parents plant tomatoes or peas, or just get dirty in the yard, this set includes a rake, trowel, fork, watering can, and a handy bag to tote it all around. Ideal for kids 3 and up, this also doubles as a great beach toy set.
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