How to Build a Step Stool
How to make a mini platform with a checkerboard top, with instructions for parents and kids
Age Range: 7 and up
For kids who live in a grown-up world, reaching things isn't always a matter of stretching their hands up—sometimes they need a boost to get to adult level. This light but very sturdy step stool is a perfect way to help little ones think big, whether they need to wash their hands, put away games and toys, or get to their favorite book. The same antiskid tape used on ladders and stairs adorns the top and makes it safe to use. Plus, its checkerboard design puts the "fun" in functional—the stool can be used for checkers or chess when work is done. Set aside just a few hours for this project and you'll have a step stool of your very own in no time flat. It's so easy (and handy to have around) you may want to make one for every room in the house.
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Building a Step Stool - Overview
The construction of this stool is very basic: two small wood panels slot together in an X to make the legs; a square of wood screws onto the legs to make the top. Since it will take a lot of abuse, it's best to make the stool out of a hardwood, such as oak or maple. However, hardwoods are more difficult to cut and screw together—you'll need to drill pilot holes for your screws or you risk splitting the wood. This may be a job for a parent, because drilling into the wood without breaking the bit can be a challenge.
Children age 7 and up should be able to use a random-orbit sander with a parent's guidance. Helping with measuring, painting, drawing the squares, and sticking on the antiskid tape are also great ways for kids to get involved.