Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Nail Driving Contests

Nail Driving ContestsThis is so simple please don't think I'm flaking on you here but sometimes simple can be brilliant.

If you're looking for a good party activity for kids (with supervision of course) or just a way to burn off energy on a summer day get out some logs or scrap lumber and let the kids go at it with a hammer and a bunch of huge nails.

We did this for an family Independence Day picnic activity. We brought half a dozen hammers, a bunch of giant nails and a rail road tie we'd found (behind the shed, not on the train tracks--that would be bad) and all the grand kids had fun seeing if they could drive a nail as fast as Great Grandpa. If you'll allow me to brag, my Grandfather was a carpenter and he has these huge muscular hands--his wedding ring is about the size of a studded snow tire--and I remember when he helped to build my parents house he could drive an 8-penny nail up to the head with one whack thank you very much. Take that John Henry.

With a bunch of kids, nails and hammers you'd think it might be a safety hazard but with a little bit of supervision they handled it well and had a great time--no smashed fingers and no gouged eyes were encountered--even the adults took a turn at the competition and if my memory serves I was able to hold my own fairly well in the group.

* Note: it works better with bigger pieces of wood. A heavy, solid piece that doesn't jump around doesn't tempt little fingers to get in the way of a swinging hammer as much as a board that won't sit still when you whack it. Just a thought.

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13 comments:

Amanda said...

This took me right back to when I was a child. I liked nothing better than to go and 'help' my father in the garage. He'd give me a piece of wood, a hammer and some nails and I'd make boats, or shapes to wind wool round, all sorts of things. Great fun.

Doll Clothes Gal said...

I like it - that'll tire out the kids. Need to watch for those little fingers; although if they hit once they won't do it again!!

Nikki said...

Very clever! I bet my oldest would love this. I'm adding big nails to my shopping list right now.

Janet said...

We did this as kids. We're saving it for later.

Daisy said...

Did you see the movie Witness? I love the house-building scene, with all the youngest kids pounding in nails on the lower parts of the walls.

PJ said...

Great idea. My dad taught me to wire appliances and do some things on a car motor...but carpentry was "girls' work" in his book!! Go figure.

Happy To Be At Home said...

This is a simple, but incredibly genius idea! I can't wait to try it out with my older kids. Thanks so much for the tip!

~Kate

jubilee said...

What is it about a hunk of wood that draws children to it?!

The other day I hammered in a couple of nails for a make-shift basketball hoop and my children could not get enough. "Do it again, Mommy! Do it again." They were either fascinated by my carpentry prowess or the fact that when I hit my thumb I hopped up and down on one foot for a good three minutes, I dunno.

jan in nagasaki said...

my mother was the cub scout den mother and won the nail driving contest at one of the things... (this was 40 odd years ago so I don't remember the details...)

anyway... it's what the cub scouts did in anchorage a long long time ago... along with the pinewood derby and swimming lessons at goose lake...

Rivster said...

Without making what sounds like a sterotypcial generalization, I can only imagine the many injuries that my Jewish (and therefore unskilled) family would sustain from such an activity!

All Rileyed Up said...

This actually does sound like a lot of fun. And a ring the size of a studded tire sounds like a large ring indeed.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Ice cream taste testing and nail driving...you all are a creative bunch! What fun.

Mine are a bit too young for now ;)

Sven said...

Good Job! :)