Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Hammers, enough for all participants, if possible
- Nails of different lengths and materials, at least four nails for each participant
- Lengths of scrap wood, thick enough to accept the longest nails you have brought, at least one piece for every two participants
- Large sheet of paper, a marker, scissors, clear tape, and the Toolbox of Our Faith poster
Preparation for Activity
- This activity will be loud. Decide whether you want to bring the group outside, or identify a room where you will not disturb others in the building.
Description of Activity
To help participants become familiar with using the power of a hammer efficiently and safely, invite them to practice pounding nails into wood. Suggest they try a variety of ways of hammering, free form, at first. Often those inexperienced with using a hammer will hold one close to the head and use their wrist to pound. Teach the group the way that carpenters use hammers to get the best and most efficient effect from the power of the hammer and the power of the arm:
Hold the hammer at the end of the handle to take advantage of the hammer head's weight when you strike the nail. By holding at the furthest end from the hammer head, the hammer becomes a lever, which gives it - and you - more power.
Invite participants to feel the difference between hammering by holding the hammer close to the hammer head, and then holding the hammer farther down the handle. Offer these suggestions:
- Swing your entire arm from the shoulder instead of just using the wrist, to make your body more efficient.
- Feel the power! Pound a nail with a few taps to hold it upright. Then swing the hammer, letting the weight of the hammer drop onto the nail head from a distance. (This technique keeps thumbs safely out of the way, too!)