Woodwork – Soft start – Balsa wood and other materials

With young children – especially 3-4-(5) year olds it makes a big difference to experience woodwork by initially starting with a soft material.
By starting with a soft material children can master skills and techniques easily and gain confidence. If we start with harder pine initially we may introduce too much challenge too soon and they could become frustrated and disheartened and quickly form an opinion that they don’t like working with wood and tools…

Soft start options:

Balsa wood
Layered cardboard
Thick felt
Insulation board
Thick cork

This resource also provides options for younger children:

I do not recommend woodwork with children under 3 due to safety issues with lower levels of maturity, less developed muscle grip, less agility with fine motor skills and the issues with the small parts involved (choking hazard) – and the fact that there are often even younger children in the proximity. Younger children can still do many preparatory activities.