Carpenter Aida Ihsani runs woodworking workshops for children. Photos: The Star/Art Chen
Children these days are more adept at holding gadgets than hammers, but carpenters Aida Ihsani and Shafril Hadi believe carpentry skills could be useful for them.
They have started Minimakery, a carpentery workshop for children between five and 10 years old.
“My friends and I enjoyed learning basic woodworking in Kemahiran Hidup (KH), a subject that’s part of our secondary school syllabus. We believe it is vital to expose children to woodcrafting. Plus, in this age of technology, it is important for children to have hands-on experience in building items instead of tapping their fingers on the screen,” says Aida, 27.
Aida also runs a carpentary business called Adiaidareka, which makes customised furniture, with her husband Shafril, 37. They started Minimakery when a friend asked them to teach her child carpentry.
To give the children a good foundation in woodmaking skills, Aida offers courses consisting of either four or eight sessions held over two and four months, respectively. They work together with their students on simple projects such as making coin boxes, toy chests or toy boats.
Aida and Shafril teach the children basic carpentry skills like measuring, lay-out, hammering and sanding.
The students also learn how to handle each tool properly.
“Safety always comes first. We remind the ‘minimakers’ at every session so that they develop good habits. I always start the class by briefing students on safety protocols and introducing protective equipment – gloves, mask and safety glasses.
“Some of the skills, like hammering and sanding, are repeated through the series. Repetition and constant practice are pertinent in improving their skills,” says Aida, a self-trained woodworker who cites YouTube as her main source of knowledge and reference.
Eimran Azrin Firdaus, six, (left) and his brother Fawwas, 11, observing intently as Aida teaches them how to do their project.
As the students progress, they learn to use new tools and acquire different skill sets.
“During the first lesson, we teach them basic skills such as fastening, using the hammer and nails. In the second lesson, they learn sanding using sandpaper to remove imperfections such as hammer marks. Later, they learn to measure and do layouts using a set square, and make pilot holes using a hand drill,” Aida continues.
She adds that working with their hands gives children a sense of accomplishment. “The children love the lessons because they get to participate actively in the entire project. It gives them a sense of ownership that they have built something useful.”
Besides woodworking skills, children also develop their soft skills.
“Doing repetitive movements such as hammering and sanding teaches children about patience and concentration. Woodworking allows timid and hyperactive children to channel their focus on completing their project.”
Aida notes that most children are often apprehensive initially as they are unsure of what to expect. Some are also intimidated by the various tools.
“But they are always excited when they complete their project, and they always look forward to their next project. Their skills will improve and they are always geared up for their next session,” she shares.
With their new skills, the children can help to maintain and fix things around the house, or perhaps make carpentry a hobby.
For details on Minimakery, check out Adiaidareka’s Facebook page or Instagram @adiaidareka.
This month, Star2.com is embarking on a Keep Curious project, in which we encourage people from all walks of life to try something new. Share with us your stories (or pictures/videos!) about learning new skills or starting a new hobby and you might have them published on our platforms. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or check out this story.