Debate – Play Tools for Kids?

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases (more).

For the most part, the holidays bring people together to celebrate and be thankful – and the presents are just a bonus. But sometimes the gifts can cause a bit of friction. Usually, it’s nothing we can’t handle; receive a horrendous sweater from your mother-in-law and you merely need to parade around in it for her while she’s over and then shove it in the back of your closet to die. But what if you and your spouse disagree about a toy given to your child? And what does this have to do with HomeFixated?

Friends of mine with a young son (four years old) and a very handy dad recently received a very realistic tool play set from Grandma. The mother (my friend) is considering returning it to the store because she’s afraid the set is sending mixed messages. They’ve been very cautious about their tools (there are many – her husband renovates homes for a living) and have taught their son that tools are not toys (tools are not even supposed to be touched by him yet). Now there is a toy in their home that looks like a bunch of tools. Hence the mixed message thing.

The dad feels bad about returning something from his mom and is wondering if this tool set is a good introduction to his son to tools. The toy itself doesn’t pose any danger (it’s plastic and not from the 1950s – therefore safe), it’s just an issue of their child confusing daddy’s tools with his tool set and / or sending a weird message to the kid.

I don’ t have kids and have therefore learned to keep my parental suggestions to a minimum. But what do you think?

– Is a play set of tools fine (even when very similar-looking tools are available in the home)?
– When should kids be introduced to real tools?
– Have your kids ever received a gift that you were unsure about its appropriateness? What did you do?

If you think there’s nothing to debate and love that picture up there (the set in question), you can pick up the Black And Decker Junior Power Tool Workshop from Amazon for around $60.

Photo of author

About Jen

Jen (but never “Jenn”) Byck, aka the Fix'n Vixen, is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communication consultant who is undoubtedly home fixated (she is also TV fixated, really bad TV fixated and donut fixated). Her approach to home improvement has been rather trial and error, the latter of which is evidenced by the amount of spackle she buys on an annual basis.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get access to free prizes, product sneak-peeks, reviews, how-to's and much more!

More Info | Email Privacy

4 thoughts on “Debate – Play Tools for Kids?”

  1. My daughter is almost two and she understands the difference between play and real. She has a small play kitchen but knows that she should never touch the oven. I’d keep the toy.

    With that said, I’m always amazed at the marketing tactics. B&D is trying to start em off young…

  2. Good input Russ and Jeff! I’ll chime in and say I’m on-board with both play tools for really young kids and carefully supervised real-tool time (with select, relatively safe tools) with kids 4+. My daughter is 3 1/2 and she’s been playing with a toy tool box with wood hammer, wrench, bolts, etc. for the last couple years. I think it’s a great way to introduce basic mechanics and hand tool function. She pretty much gets that the toy tools in her room have a different status than daddy’s tools in the garage (she knows the garage tools are off limits). I do also try not to leave circular saws, machetes, or jack hammers laying around the house though.

  3. My wife and have setup boundaries by having a mini workbench and storage for “his tools” and one for daddy’s tools. We also put the garage off limits exept when an adult gives him permission to go in. So far so good. It has fostered his creativity.

  4. A 4 year old is the perfect age to be introduced to real tools. It is a great way for a kid to spend quality time with a parent. My dad was bringing me to his job sites at that age and we were doing projects together. Mostly it was him holding my hands around the tools giving power assist. The dangerous tools he kept out of our reach but gave each of his kids (4 boys) their own set of basic tools. I still have my hammer and crosscut saw. They are pretty beat up and are not my first choice to grab but they will always have a place in my shop since they remind me of all the good times my dad and I had building stuff together. Sure I had a few bumps and bruises along the way but kids heal fast and learn quickly.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.