As our children grow, they seek out more complicated projects. Learning to do something for themselves rather than have it done for them is not a phase but rather a natural part of childhood maturation. The question is: How do we encourage this form of exploration while at the same time maintaining a safe environment? A kid’s workbench is a terrific addition to the home because it allows the child to develop motor skills, promotes deductive reasoning, and helps expand the child’s understanding of sequential problem solving.

As parents, we don’t need reminders that brain and motor skills development are of great importance. What we need to understand is how this is best achieved. The best kids workbenches are carefully designed to allow for extensive variety of use. Some are designed for younger kids and toddlers, and others are best-suited for older preteens. In this article, we will review our favorites and pass along some key features of the popular workbench styles.

 

Our Top Picks

EverEarth Toddler Workbench

Best Overall

EverEarth Toddler Workbench

Step2 Big Builders Pro Workshop Toolbench

Upgrade Choice

Step2 Big Builders Pro Workshop Toolbench

Little Tikes Tough Workshop

Best Budget Buy

Little Tikes Tough Workshop

How To Pick The Best Kid's Workbenches

Any purchase decision is the result of planning, so keep in mind such factors as the child’s age, what he or she loves to do, and what special developmental skills you feel are most important. Also, remember that a kid’s workbench, although not as large as a shop smith or a dining table, does take up some room space, and this means that reorganizing of the child’s bedroom may be in order. When shopping for a kid’s workstation, look for products that match the requirements you have set forth.

1. Recommended Age

Most workbench products will have the recommended age listed on the packaging and in the online description pages. If the child is an older toddler but still of preschool age, we would recommend choosing a bench and worktable that’s rather sturdy. This is because kids of this age are a bit fidgety and tend to squirm about. Their attention span is shorter, and so they’re more liable to change their sitting position regularly. Look for a workbench that has thick posts or solid panels that reach all the way to the floor.

An older child is of course ready for more advanced tasks. Some of the really nice benches and workstations designed for second and third graders have more complicated top surfaces with a combination of builder sets and model-making features. The idea is to choose a work station that will continue to provide challenging projects for kids in this age range.

Since older preteens are less likely to copy what Mom or Dad does but rather are becoming interested in their own project ideas, think about what types of projects interest them and choose the workbench accordingly. For example, if the child is a girl and in third grade, she may be interested in crafts. Shop for a bench model that has storage compartments, modular components that can be used to help construct mobiles, and crafting supports such as racks and tie-downs.

Educational toys are important to a child’s development, but it’s important to know which ones are suitable for your child’s age and interests. Check out this information: importance of educational and learning toys.

2. What Size Do I Choose?

You’ll not want to turn the child’s bedroom or other area of the house into a workshop-only hovel! Think about where the workstation will be placed, and try to keep from rearranging the entire room to accommodate it. Remember, a kid’s workbench should exhibit an inviting air, and it should look as though it belongs right where it’s placed.

Most of the popular and well-reviewed bench stations range in width from two to three feet, and most have height-adjustability. The legs or side panels can extend or collapse, and this is important because otherwise the child will outgrow the bench in just a year or two. Choose a bench surface height that’s approximately the same as the level at which the child sits at the dining table. This means no lifted forearms in order to reach the objects or modules that sit upon the surface.

3. Are The Materials Important?

Plastics and other polymers are the most common materials. Some workstations, however, have additional parts made from wood or metal. When shopping for a workstation, see if the specs include information on how much weight the bench can support.

4. Ease Of Assembly

Every kid’s workbench will require some assembly, but in most cases, all that’s needed is a set of screwdrivers, an adjustable wrench, and of course, a tape measure. Very few models require resizing of the components. Think of a modular wardrobe setup in a walk-in closet. Many of the fasteners are simple twist-offs, and tightening of screws that hold plastic to wood are all that’s needed to keep the item sturdy. We do recommend avoiding bench stations requiring the use of fastening materials that must be purchased separately. This could result in poorly fastened components that will easily loosen.

5. Safe For Children

This is a consideration similar to the age-appropriate concern. The law requires that this type of product be approved for age ranges based on the size of any loose pieces. We cannot recommend any workbench model that has loose pieces so small that they can easily be swallowed. Older children can work with complicated bench models that have storage compartments for small pegs, fasteners, and even removable screws and bolts. Of course, it’s very important to go over safety with the child when setting up the workstation, and it’s a very good idea to show the child where smaller pieces used for constructing projects should be stored when not in use. For more tips about toy size and toy parts, check out this page

6. Other Important Features

Look for the product warranty! Make sure the workstation can be returned if it doesn’t meet expectations. If the product is available in stores, check to see if a model is set up for viewing. If it’s not, try and find online sources that show pictures of the workstation in a home setting, and be sure to make note of the other items shown in the photo to get a sense of scale.

The Winners

#1

EverEarth Toddler Workbench

Best Overall

The EverEarth Toddler Workbench is designed with sturdiness and durability in mind. It sits on angled wood legs and has a solid top that can hold the weight of a toddler who wants to sit and rest during or after a project. It’s a wood and building set that comes with a hammer, saw, wrench, and an array of wooden and plastic blocks, screws, bolts, and other oblong, strangely shaped pieces that will fire the young one’s imagination.

This kit comes complete with special large nails for hammering, peg holes that match the peg size of most of the screws and bolts, and even threaded screw holes that match the wooden screw sizes. The bench is made from wood gathered from sustainable forest growth. The small size and lower height of the table top is perfect for use when the toddler wants to work from a sitting position on the floor. This product is great for use in tight quarters including small apartments.

  • You'll love: Compact design for use anywhere in the house
  • Large pieces that can't be accidentally swallowed
  • Smooth, wood-stain finish

Age:  7 years below
Size: Portable and lightweight
Materials: Strong wood construction
Assembly: Easy assembly
Safety: No toxic stains or varnishes
Other features: Compact packaging for affordable shipping

#2

Big Builders Pro Workshop Toolbench

Upgrade Choice

Fun and interactive, the Big Builders Pro Workshop Toolbench has an appealing design complete with lights and sound effects. Unlike most toddler workstations, this model has a huge cabinet-style storage compartment. The work surface is cleverly designed with sub-compartments for specific project ideas.

The set comes with a total of 45 individual accessory pieces including a saw, hammer, paint buckets, and a spray bottle. The huge back panel holds pliers, pins, bolts, and paint rollers. This workbench is perfect for kids who love to explore home remodeling ideas!

  • You'll love: Interactive project design
  • Wonderful tool and parts storage design
  • Four storage compartments
  • Watch for: Heavy and difficult to move

Age: Perfect for preschoolers and kindergarten students
Size: Sturdy, 19-pound construction
Materials: All-plastic with panel sides and supports
Assembly: Some assembly required / no special tools needed
Safety: No toxic stains or varnishes
Other features: Smooth surfaces, no sharp corners

#3

Little Tykes Tough Workshop

Best Budget Buy

For the budget-minded parent, we suggest the Little Tykes Workshop. It costs around $50 and is easy to set up. It’s designed as a workshop play kit, and it’s suitable for younger toddlers. It comes with a saw, wrench, and hammer, and all of the tools have large grasp handles. Kids can “pretend'” sawing and cutting on the sturdy worktable surface, and there’s a huge sliding door storage compartment.

Accessories include play nails and play screws, a vice clamp, and a sliding saw surface assembly. This is a great starter bench for kids under six years of age.

  • You'll love: Unbeatable price
  • Can be set up just about anywhere
  • Lightweight construction
  • Watch for: Might tip if heavy objects not stored in lower compartment

Age: Designed for toddlers
Size: Size is 31 inches tall and 21 inches wide
Materials: Plastic surfaces
Assembly: Assembly requires no tools
Other features: Non-toxic paint finish

#4

Hape Master Workbench

Best Adjustable Workbench

For the little craftsman in the household, the Master Workbench by Hape promises virtually limitless build and construction ideas. It’s suitable for older toddlers because the pieces are large and easy to grasp. The worktable top comes with holes for pegs, and the backboard is fitted with holders for the saw, hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and gears. There’s even a vice included.

This bench has a large underneath storage tray and several large peg holes for the storage of the tools. There are 35 total loose pieces including blocks, dies, and bolts.

  • You'll love: Easy-To-Grasp pieces
  • Sturdy construction
  • Thousands of build possibilities
  • Watch for: May be too complex for younger toddlers

Age: For kids 3-7 years of age
Size: 21″ X 31″
Materials: Plastic/Wood combination with wooden tools
Assembly: Assembly required
Other features: Non-toxic paint finish

#5

Melissa & Doug Wooden Workbench

Best Wooden Workbench

Essentially a wooden toy project workstation, the Melissa & Doug Wooden Workbench sits on sturdy, angled legs. Its design is much like a stepping stool, and it has a large understorage tray. The top surface is riddled with peg holes, and the loose pieces include square and round blocks with holes, several wooden dies and pegs, and wooden tools. There’s a hammer, saw, screwdriver, wrench, and even a wooden vice.

The kit comes with a toolbelt, picture instructions, and a sturdy tool rack that forms the upper support for the bench legs. The wood is of top quality, and the entire bench has been finished for smoothness.

  • You'll love: Sturdy construction
  • Storage peg holes
  • Small and lightweight
  • Watch for: Small pieces

Age: 3-6 years
Size: Small size, portable
Materials: All-wood construction
Assembly: Partly assembled
Other features: Non-toxic finish

#6

Black + Decker Power Tool Workshop

The smart-appearing Black + Decker Power Tool Workshop
comes with a total of 75 tools for the child to use. Its design is similar to a chair. It has sturdy legs, a low-level bench surface, and a tall back with tool racks. The underneath storage tray has separate compartments for screws and bolts, and the bench top surface has uneven contours for placing specific item during work projects.

Tools include a saw, hammer, wrench, winch, flashlight, and even a top-down power screwdriver. There’s even a pretend wiring component with plug-in. This product is highly recommended for the parent who stresses the teaching of work safety and care/storage of individual parts.

  • You'll love: Smaller size for ease of setup and moving
  • Logically arranged tool board
  • Just over eight pounds
  • Battery operation of light and sound
  • Watch for: Many small parts

Age: 3-8 years of age
Size: Small size for tight spaces
Materials: Sturdy plastic construction
Assembly: Easy assembly
Other features: Batteries not included

#7

Construct 'n Learn Workbench

Best for Budding Auto Mechanic

This well-designed bench will satisfy the little one who aspires to be a mechanic or auto repair specialist! Made of high-quality, sturdy plastic, the Little Tykes Construct ‘n Learn Workbench comes with parts to build several vehicles including a sports car and front loader. Tools include wrenches, a hammer, a drill, pliers, and a tape measure. There’s a battery-powered pack that makes real-life sounds of drilling and cutting.

The kit includes a handbook and visual aids plus assembly blueprints. Perfect for teaching organized, sequential project management, this workbench will delight the parents as much as the kids!

  • You'll love: Amazing construction project guides
  • Fun-to-use tools
  • Step-by-step project plans
  • Project customization
  • Watch for: Lots of loose parts

Age: 3 years up
Size: Measures 30 inches in height
Materials: Sturdy plastic construction
Assembly: Assembly required
Other features: Online support and downloadable app

#8

Lewo Wooden Pretend Play Toolbox

Best portable

If portability and ease of setup are of prime concern, this may be the product for you. The Lewo Wooden Tool Pretend Play Toolbox is a folding, upright-standing toolkit that can be set up anywhere in the home. It unfolds to reveal three connected compartments, each of which stores specific tool items. These include a hammer, saw, screwdrivers, pliers, and a prying tool.

Made entirely of wood, the box and tools are machine-created and have a smooth, waterproof finish. The smaller compartments in the lower sections of the box hold screws, pegs, and flat-surface pieces that can be fitted directly together with wooden bolts.

  • You'll love: Easy-opening design that can be set up on the living room floor
  • Simple storage system that teaches young ones how to properly stow items after use
  • Easy lock-up and a carry handle for portability

Age: Intended for preschoolers
Size: Lightweight, measures 12 inches tall
Materials: Made from finished and waterproofed wood
Assembly: No assembly required
Other features: Safe for kids to open without supervision

Quick Decision

EverEarth Toddler Workbench – Best Overall
Comes with a hammer, saw, wrench, and an array of wooden and strangely shaped pieces that will fire the young one’s imagination.

Big Builders Pro Workshop Toolbench – Upgrade Choice
An appealing design complete with lights and sound effects.

Little Tykes Workshop – Best Budget Buy
For the budget-minded parent. It’s designed as a workshop play kit, and it’s suitable for younger toddlers. 

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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