A Workbench for Sam (Toddlers Want Real Things)

Sam’s second birthday was a few weeks ago, and we had to get creative to dream up a good birthday gift. He likes toys, sure, but we already have plenty of those around, and besides, what he really likes is grown-up stuff (remember the workstation that Jordan made him when he was tiny?). And another thing he really likes is tinkering out in the workshop with Jordan. Typically, while I’m making dinner, the two of them will retreat to the shop for an hour and just mess around with stuff: Jordan will work on projects, and Sam will “work,” too, rifling through Jordan’s toolboxes or sorting through containers of nuts and bolts. Sam is the ultimate tinkerer. So we decided to design a simple, Sam-sized workbench that would be functional, inexpensive, and exactly like the real thing. Jordan worked his magic with some basic supplies from Home Depot, we outfitted the workbench with a nifty, nearly-real toy tool set (which we found a few months ago at a flea market) and this working Bosch drill (a gift from the grandparents), and then Jordan polished it off with a few of his tools from his collection, including two real vintage shop vises. Here’s the finished project and Sam’s first encounter with it!

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