Skip to content

Kāmura ki te kāinga

Carpentry at home

Join Nath as he explores the wonders of carpentry while at home. These videos provide ideas for whānau supporting tamariki learning at home via construction, dramatic play, and problem solving.

Remember to use all tools with care and help your tamariki use them safely. Watch Nath's tips videos first for ideas on how to do this.

If you don't have tools or spare pieces of wood around your kāinga/home you can adapt Nath's ideas to what you have available. For example, robots or planes can be made from cardboard boxes and tape. You could use old twigs, branches, or driftwood you find in your local area. String, wool, or glue can help you join things together.


How to use screws and nails with your tamariki

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Nath rummaging in garage cupboard)

    Noughts and crosses, done that. Robots, yes done robots. Traps, we’ve made traps. Ah yes, perfect. Hey gidday guys, how is it going? Sit back and relax because in this video we are going to do some DIY garage haircuts.

    (Nath holds up electric hair clippers)

    Yeah garage haircuts!

    So I have got the clippers, haha let’s get going. No seriously, we are not doing that. No we are not.

    (Nath puts away clippers and is at an outdoor workbench)

    We are going to go through some helpful tips and little suggestions hopefully to make your life easier when you are working with tools and timber with the kids. I thought it would be really helpful.

    (Nath puts a square top screw onto a screwdriver)

    Okay, so my first tip is when you're using screwdrivers and screws is the square drive option. They seem to sit in the screwdriver a lot easier and they don’t slip out. You can actually sit them in there quite nicely and then you can start screwing. I found the square head really easy, you can get them at any hardware store.

    (Nath holds both ends of the drill firmly and demonstrates how it allows a child to hold trigger)

    When it comes to your drill, you can hold onto it and get your son or daughter to pull the trigger. And then you just balance it and they can pull the trigger and hear the noise and they really love that. It is really cool. They feel like they are in control. Make sure you balance it for them.

    (Nath puts square screw on drill and drills it into the wood)

    And the square head again just sits on there really nicely and you can even get it started with no hands. Cool – really easy.

    (Nath shows small nails)

    Number two, with nails, I have seen it at a lot of centres. They buy these teeny, tiny, little, wee nails and I mean they are nice and small and you think you can bang them in pretty easily.

    (Nath holds small nail with long-nose pliers on wood while hitting it with a hammer)

    But the only way you can really use them is with some long-nose pliers to hold the nail and then get it started. And I mean that is quite tricky, quite tricky.

    (Nath holds a longer nail with his finger and thumb and hits it into wood with hammer)

    What I suggest is get something a little bit longer and it may take a bit longer for them to hammer in. At least they can hold it while they start hammering. You’ve got a lot more control with it. It is not so tricky hitting your thumbs trying to hold the teeny, tiny nails – it is just really awkward.

    I think that is probably enough for now. We will go onto some more stuff later alright. Hopefully that was really helpful.



How to help your tamariki with sanding and sawing

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Sock puppet talking)

    Dum de do. Oh hello there. How are you doing today? That is good – good, yeah. Today’s video is brought to you by the letter S. Yes sock, haha, talking sock, haha.

    Alright here is that other bloke who is going to talk about some stuff. Alrighty, have a good day.

    (Nath at his outdoor workbench)

    Gidday how is it going? Excellent, right, a few more little tips for you today.

    (Nath holds up some clamps)

    What we are going to do is talk about some clamps. So I find when I am cutting or gluing or screwing things together, it is really handy to be able to clamp it to your bench. If you don’t have a big bench clamp – the big steel ones that you wind in and out – that is fine, you don’t need one.

    (Nath holds up a small clamp)

    What is really handy is a little clamp like this.

    (Nath clamps block of wood to the table)

    You can just clamp that to the table so that it doesn’t move. It is really frustrating when things are moving and you are trying to cut or work on it.

    (Nath saws the wood)

    It just helps you – saves it moving around and wobbling around.

    (Nath uses a sanding block to sand the block of wood)

    One thing I always like to do is sand off the edges of my timber after I have cut it. Just the corners and the cut edges so that they are not sharp and you don’t get the splinters. Tell you what, there is nothing worse than a splinter in your finger. Ooh ouch, man that hurts. Give it all a wee sand so it’s safe for little hands to handle.

    (Nath holds up a saw and points to teeth on saw)

    Okay cutting – saws. When it comes to your saw, if you have got a selection or you want to buy one from the hardware store, try and get one with really small teeth, well a small, wood saw – small teeth. Because the bigger those teeth, the harder it is to get started and to start sawing. So if they are quite small, they are going to find it a lot easier.

    (Nath pulls back the saw on top of a piece of wood and then pushes forward)

    It is really easy to get started. Pull backwards first and then forward gently.

    (Nath pulls the saw backwards across the wood and then pushes the saw forwards again)

    Pull back, forward. It is hard to get started so I always suggest to pull backwards to start, just like that.

    Then when you are going forward for the first time, just try and take a bit of weight off the saw. Just push it lightly.

    So that is sawing.

    (Nath puts down saw)

    I think that is probably enough for now. We will go onto some more stuff later. Hopefully that was really helpful.


Make your own robots

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Nath moving arms like a robot)

    Gidday, how is it going?

    I am just pretending to be a robot because today we are going to make some robots. Beep, beep, boop, beep, beep.

    (Nath at outdoor workbench)

    Aah, beautiful that’s what I like. Excellent, hey gidday, how you doing? Today I thought we could do robots – make some robots. I have already made a few robots.

    (Wooden robot)

    Here is little Robbie over here, made out of sticks and stuff I’ve foraged for.

    (Robot made from a clear, plastic container upside down)

    This little guy we will call him Jeremy. Jeremy is made out of a plastic container, with some bottle cap lids and just some nerf bullets for ears.

    (Robot with a grass mouth)

    This guy here we could call Grassy. He’s got a grass mouth. I found a little bit of Astro Turf.

    (Nath uses a piece of wool to make a wig on a robot)

    So I have rummaged through the recycling to get some more bottle tops and just a bit of timber – pretty simple really. If you want to go like a step up I guess, you could make some wigs out of all sorts of things, I don't know. You can put some wigs or something on here, dress them up a little bit.

    (Nath shows wooden block, with small piece of wood nailed on the site)

    So I have got one here that I’ve started. We’ll just go through quickly what I plan to do with this little guy. So I have got an arm on there that I have nailed on there, with a little bit of glue.

    (Nail in the top of the block of wood)

    I have put a nail in the top here. What I am going to do is get the eyes here. I have already screwed the eyes onto a bit of wood.

    (Nath hammers the piece of wood with the bottle caps onto the top of the block of wood)

    I am just going to sit that head there. Look away, it could hurt Mr Robot.

    (Nath swivels head with bottle cap eyes)

    So there we go there’s his head nicely attached and because it is on a nail, we can swivel it a little bit, mix it up a bit.

    (Nath nails in second arm)

    I have got an arm already with a little nail in there, just to let things flow a little bit more. Then we just tap that over here. There we go. It is starting to split. We have to be careful that it doesn’t split too much. So that is the start of our robot anyway.

    (Nath takes two short pieces of wood and balances the robot body on them)

    I don’t know, we could use some of these. We could sit him on there or maybe we go that way. Mr Lopsy. He is a lopsided robot this one.

    Yeah, I think he is pretty cool.

    So that is another little project you can get stuck into today.



Make a fire truck

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Fire engine noises, Nath humming while cleaning a toy fire engine)

    Hi there, how is it going?

    Yeah, having fun?

    Yeah, it’s been pretty cool eh. I have found lots of cool things to do.

    Today I thought I would wash down the ol’ fire truck. Get it nice and shiny. While I was washing, I have been thinking about a few, little cool things we could do using water and an old drink bottle. Stay tuned.

    (Workbench with plastic juice bottle lying on it)

    Of course you could make it out of blocks of wood if you want to. I just thought I had some plastic bottles in my recycling bin. So I thought why not use some plastic bottles?

    (Nath drills holes in plastic bottle)

    So drill a hole for the wheels.

    (Nath paints plastic bottle with red paint)

    Give it a wee bit of a paint job.

    (Nath paints the word fire on the bottle with yellow paint)

    It is not a fire truck without a big yellow fire on it. Still just a wee bit wet there.

    (Nath shows how to fit wheels to the plastic bottle)

    I actually had some Lego wheels. I mean you could use any sort of wheels you want to. I just had Lego– we got heaps of Lego so I just thought I would use it.

    You just pop it through and connect it at either end.

    And you’re done – voilà.

    (Nath lying on the ground with hose by concrete, with plastic bottle fire truck in front of him)

    So what I have done is I have turned my drink bottle, my juice bottle, into a fire truck.

    If we make a couple of them, you can have races with your Mum and Dad or your brother and sister.

    All you do is line them up and you get your hose.

    You go on your marks, get set…..

    (Nath squirts the hose at the back of the fire truck)

    Pretty cool.



Make your own necklaces

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Nath behind trees in a backyard looking for sticks and leaves)

    Gidday there, how is it going?

    I am just rummaging. I love that word. I love rummaging – rummaging all sorts of bits and pieces for today’s project.

    (Nath at outdoor work bench with necklaces on it)

    Gidday, how is it going? Okay today we are going to try and keep these kids entertained by making a few necklaces. Not necessarily carpentry but it is something to do eh.

    (Necklaces made from different household items)

    Half the fun is actually rummaging through the house looking for items to use for your necklace. I’ve used all sorts of Lego here threaded through there. We found some beads, that is fairly standard I guess. Batman fidget spinner that's pretty cool for the superhero. This one is a little bit more garagey, a little bit more industrial with some blocks of wood and some nuts just threaded through.

    (Necklace with of pieces from a branch)

    This one here is very natural I would say, very natural. I’ve just trimmed some branches, diced them up and drilled some holes. So that is really simple. I might go through that now.

    (Nath holds wood with grips and uses drill to put a hole through the centre of the wood piece)

    Make sure you are using some grips or pliers, rather than try and hold it with your hands. Might have to get one of your parents to do this. But you can just drill holes. I’ve got a whole pile of these that I have pre-drilled. That one is pre-drilled.

    (Nath holds shoe lace)

    Get your shoelace that you’ve asked Mum and Dad for.

    (Nath threads wooden blocks onto shoe lace)

    We can just thread a few things through. They are a bit tricky those long bits, might just skip those for now.

    (humming and whistling)

    There we go – voilà. One unique-to-you necklace. No one else has got one like this, just you.



Make your own plane

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Plane engine noises. Nath flying a wooden plane around outside)

    Hey, how is it going? Aeroplanes. I love flying aeroplanes, making model aeroplanes, displaying model aeroplanes. It is so much fun.

    Today we are going to make our own model aeroplane out of bits of random wood that we find around the house.

    (Workbench with two pieces of wood on it)

    So we have the wings and the body of the plane – that is the square block.

    (Nath cuts out a tail wing for the back of the plane from a small piece of wood)

    I’m just going to cut out, I guess, it is the wing for the back.

    (Nath screws main wing to underside of the block of wood that is the body of the plane)

    Then we can screw or nail it all together.

    (Nath uses glue and a screw to attach the tail wing to the plane)

    (Nath outside holding a wooden aeroplane)

    There we go, a nice, wooden aeroplane.

    I think it is pretty cool. You could spend hours flying that around and around.

    Just remember don’t break anything if you are flying it inside.

    Maybe go outside, fly it outside – be a bit safer.

    You can pretend to be an airforce pilot or anything you want really.

    If you get bored of flying you can give it a wee paint job. You could make it look like an airforce plane, an Air New Zealand plane, a rescue plane, any sort of aeroplane I think.



Make an outdoor noughts and crosses game

  • Transcript

    Transcript Transcript

    (Clapping and cheering)

    Oh gidday, you’ve caught me.

    (Nath in kitchen with coffee cup)

    I’m just making myself a coffee. Just before we get started on today’s little project.

    (Nath holds plastic milk bottle)

    So what we are going to do is fill up some milk bottles with water.

    (Nath crosses his arms)

    And I’ve got some wood to make crosses. Can you guess what I am going to make?

    (Hand saw cutting branches to the same length)

    (Drilling a hole in one branch)

    (Drilling in a screw then placing across another branch to form a cross)

    (Nath outside on lawn with wooden crosses and milk bottles)

    Gidday guys, how is it going?

    So today I thought we would mix a bit of carpentry up with a game.

    So what I have done is I’ve rummaged through the recycling to get some milk bottles.

    And I found some sticks and we’ve made our own crosses for a mega game of noughts and crosses.

    (Boy enters by string laid out in grid pattern)

    Noah come and help me. What you are going to be?

    [Noah] I am Xs

    [Nath] Xs okay, I’ll be circles or milk bottles. Ready? You go first.

    (Noah places wood cross in centre of grid)

    Always the centre. I could have guessed.

    (Nath places a milk bottle in the top corner of grid)

    I will place a milk bottle to block you.

    (Noah places cross in the same row as other cross. Nath places milk bottle beside his other milk bottle, Noah completes his row of three crosses)

    (Nath and Noah high five)

    Oo how easy was that?

    (Dog arrives and Nath pats him)

    So that was a real quick, nice, easy game of noughts and crosses.