day 11 – if I had a hammer

Introduce children to household tools at a young age. This simple activity will entertain them and encourage them to be comfortable with tools. You need an off-cut of soft wood, a handful of nails and the smallest hammer you can find. The brads in this photo are too small, even for these young fingers. I’ll have to dig out something bigger. But the hammer I found in a cheap shop for a couple of dollars is perfect.

Older kids will soon do this on their own but little ones need help holding the nail and hammering without hitting their fingers. Learning to hold a hammer low down on the handle rather than throttling the neck of it, takes time, as does getting the nail straight. Don’t we all need help with that? Once kids pick that up, smashing a nail down cleanly into a lump of pine is very satisfying. When things don’t go right, pulling the nail out with the claw at the back of the hammer is an opportunity to talk about leverage. There it is, the day’s physics lesson.

Published by Dr Toni Risson

Dr Toni Risson is a storyteller and a cultural historian who has penned everything from children’s picture books to a PhD on the Magic of Lollies. An expert on the Greek cafe phenomenon, Toni curated Meet Me at the Paragon for the State Library of Queensland, and her latest book, Brisbane’s Greek Cafes: A Million Malted Milks, was a finalist in the 2019 Queensland Literary Awards. Having encountered the elegant Paragon Cafe in Katoomba as a child, Toni developed a fascination with silky oak panelling, bevelled mirrors and Art Deco wall lights long before she understood the stories behind Australia's iconic Greek cafe. She continues to document our lost café culture.

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