Woodworking Summer Camp

Why Woodworking “Wow”s kiddos as a Summer Camp


Kids love to create.  We all love to create.  {YEL!} Woodworking summer camps offer great opportunities to pull your kids away from video games and get them creating projects they’ll keep for a long time.

{YEL!} runs summer woodworking camps in dozens of communities.  Visit our REGISTRATION PAGE to find one near you.

What makes woodworking so cool to the plugged-in, YouTube generation?

Do it yourself

Do it yourself

Creativity is at the core of that “I did it myself” feel and there are studies to prove it.  Author Dan Ariely in the second chapter of his book Payoff discusses a study where novice “builders” of origami projects valued their project more than “buyers” who were asked how much they would pay for the project.  The study continued by having the “builders” build their origami with fewer and fewer directions.  In the last phase of the study, critical steps in the “builders” instructions were removed.  After building with less instruction, the “builders” valued their projects more than five times higher than “buyers” valued the same project.  The more you do yourself and the more creativity you invest, the more you value what you’ve made.

Woodworking is the same.  Almost every student I’ve spoken with has put their projects on display in their home.  Whether it is a baseball holder, catapult or keepsake box…whether it is perfectly sanded or has dried paint drips, the kids love to show what they’ve made and talk about the experience.

Do you have a similar experience?  Perhaps you still have the wooden wagon you made in seventh grade shop class.  Or, the 4-H Blue Ribbon picture frame you made in high school.  Personally, I have a mosaic art piece from third grade that I’ve taken with me everywhere I have lived for the last 40 years.  I have yet to outgrow that thing.

Make it your own

In addition to making projects with our guided instructions, accelerated woodsmiths have opportunities to make their project their own by: adding extra pegs to the baseball holder, designing their own topper for the keepsake box, painting their baseball and bat holder their favorite team colors, or any creative way to personalize their projects they can come up.  What will they come up with this year?

Measure Twice. Cut Once

In the era of emojis, and abbreviations to whatever phrase you can think of, woodworking teaches students to be patient.  They have to measure, measure again, check the instructions and mark their board.  Then they put the saw to wood and take a deep breath before making the irreversible decision to start cutting.  Yes, an irreversible decision. Make a mistake and you might have to discard that piece of wood or refine the directions for the rest of the project.   As the phrase goes, “Woodworking minus patience equals firewood.”  It takes time.  It takes patience.  And, patience is a virtue.

Skills for a lifetime

The skills we teach in {YEL!} woodworking summer camps are the same that are used in carpentry careers and by “Do It Yourself” weekend warriors.  Perhaps one of our students will end up making a backyard jungle gym or treehouse for their kids.  Or making their spouse or friend a keepsake stool or end table.


It’s Peaceful

Creating can be peaceful.  Yes, mistakes happen, but there is something really relaxing about the painting in long strokes, sawing wood, or sanding your project to a fine finish.  And, let’s face it, we could all do well with a few less keystrokes in our day and a few more paint strokes.

Teach It!  Practice It!  Play It!

Every {YEL!} class and summer camp has these three elements in it: Teach It!  Practice It!  Play It!  In the {YEL!} Woodworking Summer Camp they are:

Teach It! – Our instructors show students the proper way to measure, mark, cut and fix the wood.

Practice It! – Students are often given extra pieces of wood to practice hammering, screwing, cutting, or painting.  They can practice before they actually cut or paint their own project.

Play It! – In woodworking, we consider the building portion of class to be the Play It! portion of the camp.  The students get to be woodsmiths, personalizing each project, and showcasing their projects at home.


Safety is of prime importance in our woodworking summer camps.  All students wear protective eyewear when cutting, hammering or painting.  All students wear gloves when handling the wood.  All students learn the proper way to hold a saw, hammer a nail or handle a hand-operated screw gun.  Students do not use power tools in our woodworking classes.

What’s Next?

The most common question from parents at the end of the {YEL!} Woodworking Summer Camp is “What’s next?”  Students have learned the basics and completed some awesome projects.

  1. I’d say the first step is to let them show off their projects in public.  Keep them on display at home.  Allow them to show neighbors, extended family and friends.
  2. Amazon has a number of woodworking and carpentry books for kids.  Consider purchasing one and trying a summer project for you and your child to work on as a team.
  3. Home Depot offers one day woodworking classes.  Check them out and see if they have a class of interest to you.
  4. Check out Pinterest for ideas.  There are gobs of woodworking projects on there.  However, what I’ve seen is that they are typically quite complex.
  5. Look into future {YEL!} Woodworking Summer Camps.  We rotate project every year!