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  • Writer's pictureBen Nordman

Skilled Trades Gift Guide

Updated: May 9

With the holiday season here, it is naturally the time of year for giving. With that, giving gifts to children is important to their overall happiness as well as their development. Finding gifts that serve both purposes is important to the child and in the long run, potentially the rest of society as well.

The toys that children play with while they are developing can help give them a strong base in life skills such as problem solving and creativity, essential skills they will need in life. Those abilities will help them in their future career choices, so why not give them a start in the skilled trades.

As the skilled trades gap has expanded over the last 10 years, a common theme has been occurring. More and more children are pushed to attend four-year colleges and earn degrees, placing that expectation upon them from an early age. With children having their eyes set on four-year colleges and degrees that do not involve the skilled trades, the children often times do not get much taste of any skilled trades. This should change to get younger tradespeople into the industries that are low on skilled workers.

To remedy this problem, gifting and encouraging children to open their mind towards skilled trades is very important. There are many different options to promote the important skills children could develop into interest in the skilled trades such as creativity, ability to follow directions, problem solving, etc. Pairing this with a fun and interactive way to engage the kids with toys is paramount in their development.

We bring to you a list of non-specific toys that will nurture children into the skilled trades and hopefully open their minds to what they can accomplish as a skilled tradesperson.

woman operating MagnaLift lift magnet
Choose toys that inspire children to think about skilled trade jobs.

  1. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) toys

With an obvious connection between STEM and skilled trades, this is the top suggestion for toys for kids. With Baby Boomers retiring, the number of skilled trade workers compared to other jobs will soon change drastically ( This is where the STEM toys could help slow that trend.

Some examples of STEM toys are that of blueprint puzzles, buildable RC cars and other vehicles, and mechanical puzzles that involve gears and drives. These toys stimulate the creativity of the child while pushing them to solve a problem of something not working.

2. Building sets

Learning the simple skill of how to build a design with their hands is important for children, especially if they consider going into the skilled trades. Being able to look at blueprints and then build based from that is what skilled tradespeople do on a daily basis and gifting building sets can give children early exposure into doing this.

3. Pretend play sets

Geared towards the younger kids, pretend play sets such as a toy workbench or home and garden set will spark an interest in children to want to create, build, and grow. Helping them with encouraging them to have an imagination will also be vital in their development as a child. Industries such as construction, horticultural, and manufacturing all directly relate to the use of these sets as it gives the child a toy version of tools they could use on all of these jobs.

4. Bikes, battery-operated ride ons

Everyone remembers their first bike or their first batter-operated ride on vehicle. Being able to spark an interest in a child with transportation-focused toys can create a curiosity in how they work and possibly eventually getting them interested in real vehicles and transportation jobs, such as a mechanic or equipment operator.

Finding the perfect gift for a child is tough work. Combining the need for them to enjoy the gift and also looking for something that can teach them something is crucial to their development into eventual adulthood. Finding them a gift from this guide is not only giving them both of those things but also can help improve the skilled trades gap down the line.

obsidianmfg logo

Obsidian Manufacturing Industries, Inc. is a Rockford, Ill. manufacturing company and is the OEM for Magna-Lock USA workholding, MagnaLift & Power-Grip lift magnets, and Arter Precision Grinding Machines as well providing surface grinding services. They are located at 5015 28th Ave. in Rockford, Ill. with a phone number of 815-962-8700. Check out more at


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