Realize the sense of satisfaction that building something brings. -Anika Gandhi

Episode 025: Tapping into Creativity and Why Woodworking Helps Kids Learn Real Life Skills with Anika Gandhi

I interview a LOT of different people in a myriad of professions, but I’ve never come close to having a woodworker on the show before!

“What would we talk about – how to build things? That won’t go well on a podcast in someone’s ear…” I thought.

Do not worry my friends, because Anika and I are both moms, so we dig into woodworking as an analogy for parenting and life skills, and I know you’ll be inspired to make time for a creative pursuit after this!

We talk about:

  • How Anika went from being an engineer and scientist to breaking boundaries as a female woodworker on YouTube
  • Why the best way to get started with woodworking is…just to get started 🙂
  • How her engineering background helped Anika be a better woodworker and the MYTH of right-brained/left-brained work
  • The incredibly valuable life skills kids (and adults) learn while building projects – problem-solving and patience are biggies but wait until you hear the most important skill!
  • The two tools you’ll need to buy to get started – a very low barrier to entry!!
  • All about confidence, failure, and great parenting
  • Why Anika sees failure as an opportunity
  • The importance of carving out time for creative hobbies as parents (and modeling all sorts of skills for our kids)

Let’s grab a power drill and get building!

Video or audio? For the first 5 years, this show “The Healthy Parenting Connector” was a video interview series. You can still watch the video, but NOW it’s also a podcast, renamed “Healthy Parenting Handbook.” Find all the episodes here or listen on your favorite podcast player:


Can’t see the video? Watch Tapping Into Creativity here on YouTube!

No time for the video? Here are the notes!

These timestamps align with the audio podcast, not the video (although they’ll be fairly close).

  • 3:00: In 2011, Anika picked up a power drill and realized that she could make her own furniture. She had zero experience and zero exposure to anything like this. She not only started making furniture but began a YouTube channel about it!
  • 7:38: Anika shares the process of learning how to build with us. She went online and found a few people teaching about furniture making on blogs and YouTube. She also used her background as an engineer to design her pieces. 

It takes time. It’s just a matter of patience and persistence. -Anika Gandhi

  • 9:52: We’ve all heard that some people are left-brained and some are right-brained. Anika thinks this distinction is a bit of a myth. Creative people can do science and engineering. You need creativity in these fields too!

Benefits of Hands-On Hobbies

  • 14:39: Anika brings her kids into her workshop to see how things work. They learn that anything is possible and they have lots of opportunities to ask questions.
  • 16:16: Anika tells a cute story about how her son built a bed for his dinosaurs.
  • 19:16: Woodworking requires a lot of patience and discipline. There is a reason that there are certain steps that need to be done, you can’t cut corners.

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  • 21:02: People feel empowered when they make something with their own hands. We’re so used to instant gratification in this digital world. When you make something by hand it takes time and you’ll come upon difficulties that require problem-solving. Nothing compares to the satisfaction you feel when you make something by hand.

Gaining Confidence Through DIY

  • 23:49: Kids gain confidence from making things, but it also requires some confidence to get started with a DIY hobby. The best way to get started with anything is to just get started, and remember that you will not be amazing right off the gate.

You cannot do it because you have just started. You have to practice. You have to keep doing it. -Anika Gandhi

  • 25:09: Wondering what tools you’d need to get started with woodworking? Pick one thing to cut with and one thing to join with. Anika highly recommends a miter saw to get started because it’s very beginner-friendly and very safe, but it is also bulky and more expensive than a circular saw. A power drill is a solid choice for a joining tool. To bring your projects to the next level you can invest in a pocket hole jig.
  • 27:00: You have to carve out a tiny amount of time every few days or on the weekends, just an hour or two, just do something for yourself. Make that non-negotiable with your family so then you can start to explore the hobbies that you want to. 

You’ve totally earned an hour or two a week for yourself. It’s not that bad. -Anika Gandhi

  • 28:15: Anika shares some of her favorite DIY projects that she’s come up with in the past 13 years. 
  • 29:22: How do you talk to your kids about failure? We want to protect our kids, we don’t want them to feel bad, but letting kids fail is important. Here’s an entire interview about letting kids fail

Failure is just an opportunity. -Anika Gandhi

  • 30:54: We leave you with one really practical step you can take today. Take some time for yourself and do something creative. 

Resources We Mention for Exploring Creativity

Anika GandhiAnika Gandhi is the creator behind Anika’s DIY Life where her goal is to demystify DIY and inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas and skills.
In her previous life, she was a PhD Scientist/Engineer. She grew up in India with zero exposure to DIY or power tools. She picked up a power drill for the first time in 2011 and realized she could build her own furniture! She wants everyone to break gender and cultural stereotypes, unlock their creative potential, and experience the feeling that comes with making with their own hands. She keeps her projects approachable and easy to follow while adding a unique personality to them.
She has been featured on MSN, NBC LA Live, Popular Woodworking, Family Handyman, Molly Makes, Highland Woodworking, Apartment Therapy, ,, and more.


What You Should Do Next:

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About Katie Kimball

Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship®, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.

Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.

A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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