Workbench Toys to Inspire Your Little Craftsman

Jennifer Schlette, RN, MSNED
Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, RN, MSNEDWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on October 11th, 2021

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Does your budding builder need a special space to work on their projects? Many children express an interest in tools as soon as they see mom or dad tinkering around the house.

It’s not unusual for children to want to join in on a household project. Unfortunately, power tools and preschoolers don’t mix very well.

Help your kiddo emulate their favorite handy person. These toys help little ones express themselves creatively.

What’s more, workbenches and tool kits foster hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, while these hand-on playthings can also be a pure form of entertainment.

We spent hours researching the top-selling workbenches before settling on nine amazing selections.

We’ve really hit the nail on the head with this one! Read along to discover helpful buying tips and the best workbenches for kids.

The benefits of toy workbenches

Tool toys offer children lots of academic and cognitive benefits, including the following:

  • Improves Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Improves Fine Motor Skills
  • Boosts Creativity
  • Provides Screen-Free Entertainment
  • Teaches Recognition
  • Boosts Confidence

How can you help your child play with their tools?

It can be tempting to step in and correct your child’s mistakes or help them achieve their goals.

While mentorship is essential in real workshops, toy kits provide a more age-appropriate environment for children to explore.

Try not to intervene every time your child loses their cool. Each of the tool kits on our list has clear age guidelines.

Most kids should be able to work their way through little mishaps. When they do, they learn patience and self-control.

Of course, there are plenty of fun ways you can engage in your child’s building experience. Try asking them questions about what they are making.

Prompt them to talk about different types of tools and their functions. With a little nudge, your child’s vocabulary will really swell.

Functions and accessories

After looking at dozens of different workbenches, we developed a preference for specific tools and accessories. Most tool kits include a hammer, screwdriver, saw, and some hardware.

We’ve also come across kits that include vices, drills, measuring tools, wrenches, and more. It’s always pleasing when a kit includes lots of accessories. At the same time, adequate storage space is important.

Design

When we first started looking at toy workbenches, we were really caught up in the aesthetics. However, we found that children are less likely to notice the difference between bulky plastic and sleek wooden pieces.

We suggest that you put your judgments behind you and select a bench that will truly please your little one. While you’re at it, check for the following elements of design.

  • Safety: What would happen if a small child sat or climbed on the workbench? Are there small pieces that could become choking hazards? Be sure the product you buy is not going to be a safety hazard.
  • Convenience: Will the workbench take up a lot of floor space? Are the accessories going to end up scattered across the floor? If you need to conserve space, opt for a portable (or foldable) bench. Of course, also ensure that the bench has plenty of storage.
  • Engaging: What elements will draw your child’s attention and keep them coming back for more? Are there lots of hi-tech elements, like moving parts and sounds? Does the bench come with simple projects that your child can complete? No one wants to invest in a toy only to find it collecting dust. Choose a workbench that’s suited to your child’s playing style.

Best age to introduce a workbench

The good news is that there are tool benches for nearly every age group. We’ve done our best to include options for both hammer-wielding toddlers and more disciplined big kids.

If shopping for a child under the age of 3 years, it’s important to scout for benches that come with jumbo accessories. Little kids need big parts to grab.

They’ll develop more refined hand-eye coordination as they grow. The tools don’t need to be super functional. As little ones will use their curiosity and imagination to drive their actions.

Older children appreciate more functional and realistic tools. When making selections for children 4 years and over, we opted for kits that had lots of small parts and accessories.

Project guidelines can be helpful. However, we tend to prefer kits that can be reformulated in multiple ways.

Our top picks for the best workbenches for kids

Editors choice

Our opinion

The Hape My Handy Workshop (check price on Amazon) provides children with the tools they need to foster a lifetime of creativity.

This wooden workbench boasts a non-toxic finish. What’s more, it’s 100% child-safe and comes with a set of traditional tools and some durable plastic gears.

Its small size makes it perfect for floor-level building sessions. Unlike large plastic tool benches, the Hape toolbox is easily stored and moved. We love this German manufacturer’s use of colors and shapes.

Its timeless design will serve children for many generations. While children build, they learn to recognize the names of common tools and building concepts. In time, they may even be able to piece together the gears and other hardware items.

This little wooden workbench is perfect for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years.

What we love
  • The durable wooden tools and toolbox are designed to last a lifetime
  • Reasonably priced
  • Lots of building possibilities
  • Promotes hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and social skills
Watch for
  • Some children may not enjoy floor-level play

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

This is the perfect workbench for the truck enthusiast in your family. The Little Tikes Construct ‘n Learn Smart Workbench (check price on Amazon) provides all the materials needed to build three distinct play vehicles.

However, children can also make their own creations. There are nine tools included in this kit, each with realistic movements and sounds.

The tools are even capable of recognizing the included hardware though this function tends to go slightly haywire when the batteries are running low.

Your little builder won’t know the difference between his tool bench and a real one. The pieces fit together easily, not to mention being the perfect size for little hands.

There are about 40 accessories in the kit, and, fortunately, the bench has a large storage tray to help kids keep them all together.

What we love
  • Kids get a complete workbench and several new toy vehicles
  • Comes with a whopping number of accessories
  • Plenty of storage for small parts
  • RFID technology enables the smart tools to recognize parts
Watch for
  • Some functions don’t work so well when the batteries are running low
  • Expensive

Best budget buy

Our opinion

The Little Tikes Tough Workshop (check price on Amazon) is perfect for busy toddlers. It comes with 11 pint-sized tools, including a hammer, vice, and table saw.

Children can work on their hand-eye coordination as they tap away at the plastic nails or saw through the plastic plank. A set of sliding doors serves to conceal the items stored in the bottom section. Plus, children as young as 24 months can enjoy this adorable space.

What we love
  • The chunky tools are perfect for little hands
  • Helps children develop confidence in their hand-eye coordination
  • Plenty of covered storage space
  • A large work surface for your child to work on with their imaginary projects
Watch for
  • Requires some assembly

Best with realistic drilling sound

Our opinion

Your little one will love having a toolset just like dads. This 75-piece BLACK + DECKER Power Tool Workshop (check price on Amazon) comes with all the essentials. Some tools even light up, move, and make noises. There are even some pieces of faux wood for projects.

There are enough tool hooks and storage trays provided that you won’t have to worry about tracking down loose parts. This is a great alternative to a play store or kitchen, as it helps children develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

We recommend this bench for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years.

What we love
  • Includes 75 realistic toy tools
  • Faux power tools light up and produce lively sound effects
  • Screws and nuts help kids tune their fine motor skills
  • Lots of storage trays for loose parts
Watch for
  • Only one project can be assembled with the faux wood

Best classic design

Our opinion

If you’re looking to avoid chunky plastic toys, then check out the Melissa & Doug Wooden Workbench (check price on Amazon). This company has earned itself an excellent reputation for quality.

This workbench comes with lots of realistic toy tools, including a saw, hammer, screwdriver, and vice, and also includes workable project materials. It includes a child-friendly instruction booklet with lots of fun toy-making ideas.

However, children can also ditch the formal instructions for more imaginative play. Overall, we love the look of this untreated wooden workbench. It’s a great learning tool for children between the ages of 3 and 6 years.

What we love
  • At 26 inches, it’s just the right height for small children
  • Kids develop self-confidence when they finish toy projects
  • Large storage shelf beneath the workbench
  • Promotes hand-eye coordination and problem-solving
Watch for
  • Pieces are not interchangeable with other Melissa & Doug building sets

Most eco-friendly workbench

Our opinion

The EverEarth Toddler Workbench (check price on Amazon) is a fabulous set for parents who want to make the switch to more eco-friendly toys. Sustainably harvested wood serves as a perfectly durable foundation for hammering, sawing, and more.

This kit comes with five wooden tools. Children can practice their building skills by inserting the wooden hardware through the threaded holes on the surface of the workbench.

The bench stands just a little more than 12 inches tall, a perfect height for kneeling toddlers. Set your child in front of this tiny wooden workbench. It offers hours of potential entertainment. No screens or sound effects are needed.

What we love
  • Made from sustainably harvested, eco-friendly wood
  • Bright colors and distinct shapes
  • Five wooden tools as well as a large assortment of wooden hardware items
  • Perfect for toddlers and preschoolers
Watch for
  • The painted pieces are made from compressed wood

Best for little carpenters

Our opinion

Some tinkerers like to take their work on the road. The Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit (check price on Target) is a great alternative to stationary tool benches.

This little wooden toolbox has a bar handle that’s easy for little hands to grasp. It’s chock-full of wooden tools and accessories. Plus, there are holes on the side that your youngster can fill with nails and screws.

If you want to hone your little one’s budding carpentry skills, start with this safe and fuss-free selection. They’ll be able to develop their coordination and confidence before yielding a real metal hammer. Your fingers will thank you for your wise decision!

We recommend this tiny tool kit for children between the ages of 3 and 5 years.

At a glance
  • Small enough for kids to take anywhere
  • Made from wood that will last a lifetime
  • Children can hammer and screw into hole-covered wooden straps
  • Encourages problem-solving and creativity
  • A safe alternative for kids who are eager to use real tools

Best portable workbench

Our opinion

We’ve all dealt with chunky plastic toys that sit in the corner and collect dust. The ToyVelt Portable Workbench (check price on eBay) is the perfect compromise for parents who want to conserve floor space while satisfying their little carpenter’s cravings.

This 68-piece stand-up workbench can be folded into a briefcase when not in use. It comes with lots of realistic tools, including a functioning drill and a table vice.

Your little one will spend hours tinkering with the small pieces. The workbench’s folding design is perfect for vacations and trips to grandma’s house. We recommend this model for children 3 years and older.

We’re confident that kids will enjoy this tool kit well into their school years.

What we love
  • Over 68 functioning tools, including a battery-operated drill
  • Stand-up workbench folds up into a compact briefcase
  • Promotes creativity and problem solving
  • The large plastic parts are suitable for children as young as 3 years
Watch for
  • Your kiddo won’t want to leave the house without their briefcase!

Best with lots of features

Our opinion

Bigger isn’t always better, but it’s definitely a plus when it comes to the Step2 Pro Play Workshop And Utility Bench (check price on Walmart). A couple of kids can easily fit along the front of this extensive workbench.

76 accessories come with this workshop, with more than enough jars, drawers, and cabinets to contain all the parts. There are loads of realistic foam boards as well as a large blueprint panel that serves as inspiration for projects.

The large utility sink, table-mounted drill, and functional pegboards make this feel like a genuine workshop. A miniature bench even pulls out from the larger unit, enabling kids to rework their building station over and over again.

When kids tire of free play, they can log on to the Step2 Builder’s Network to create their own (untelevised) television show.

What we love
  • An expansive work surface with lots of realistic details
  • Interactive projects and role-playing ideas
  • Promotes several aspects of early childhood development
  • A great tool for teaching teamwork and problem solving
Watch for
  • Not enough foam blocks to cover all of the project ideas

And our winner is…

Workbenches are some of the most educational and enjoyable playthings. We love that they inspire little ones to be creative problem solvers, not to mention keeping little ones occupied for hours on end!

The winner of our roundup would have to be the Hape My Handy Workshop Kid’s Wooden Tool Box Set (check price on Amazon). This lovely heirloom workbench boasts a timeless design that youngsters can enjoy.

Not only does this bench boast excellent craftsmanship, but it also includes some unique educational concepts.

We hope you enjoyed all our picks for the best kids’ workbenches! Drop a comment in the box below if we missed one of your favorites!

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Jennifer Schlette, RN, MSNED
Reviewed by Jennifer Schlette, RN, MSNEDWritten by Neve Spicer Updated on October 11th, 2021

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