Thursday, July 18, 2013

DIY Kids' Workshops: Home Depot and Lowe's

A few weeks ago I posted a link on our Facebook page (yes, we have one of those, go "like" us now!) about the latest Home Depot Workshop for kids.  If you have never heard of these or participated, you are missing out on several opportunities.

First, both types of workshops at both stores are completely free.  I mean, really, I've said it before and I will say it again- ya can't beat free!!!  Second, most men are just itching for an excuse to go to Home Depot or Lowe's.  Now they can take the kids and give you some much needed break time.

The first workshop we did was at Lowe's, and my son was almost 5 at the time.  He has great fine motor skills and was able to do most of the project himself, but regardless, the projects are usually simple enough for a parent to assist.
So, how does it work?  Let's start with Lowe's.  Their programs are called Lowe's Build and Grow Workshops.  Their link is here:  http://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx  You must choose which Lowe's you hope to visit and register in advance online.  You can view their schedule and pick which projects you'd like to try.  You will be required to sign a waiver and bring it with you to the workshop (no worries if you forget, they usually have them there for you to sign, too).

I am guessing that each Lowe's has it own procedures, but at the Lowe's we visited, there was no instructor (but there were employees there to assist if needed).  We signed in, picked up our kit in the back of the store, and built it on our own in the lumber section.  The area was designated for the workshop, so we weren't in anyone's way.
My son was given his own apron and goggles to keep, as well as a certificate and cool patch to take home. He made a full wooden version of the monster truck, Grave Digger!
It's a pretty sturdy toy and my son has always been proud that he made it.  Since then we have also attended Home Depot workshops.  Home Depot's process is similar to Lowe's, but again, I think experience by store varies.  I have heard that some stores actually have an instructor who will guide you through the building process, but this has never been the case with us.  The kits come with instructions and we are usually just left on our own to complete them.  So follow the link to Home Depot's page:  http://workshops.homedepot.com/workshops/.  Once there, be sure to click on "kids workshops" where you can pre-register online.  My son has made some adorable creations there, like this lawn mower pencil holder:
Or my favorite, Lucy's car from Despicable Me 2!  Both are made of wood.  Look at the little minion driver! It's a decal.
Like Lowe's, Home Depot provides each child with a free apron and a pin (instead of a patch) of the project they completed.  Note that I don't have photos of my son constructing these.  That's because after the first workshop, I realized that it was the perfect time for daddy/son bonding, and that I needed to step back, or step off, or whatever.  So my son usually goes to these workshops without me now, and I get to sleep a little later, or shop, or just eat my cereal in peace!

JERSEY MOMMA WORKSHOP TIPS:

* Definitely sign up in advance online.  If you wait too long, the workshops do fill up.

*If the workshop you are looking at is full, it is still possible to attend.  If you're willing to take the chance, show up about a half hour after the workshop starts.  In most cases, they will have extra kits they can give you, or kits from people who signed up but did not show up.

*The workshops are for boys AND girls, so don't be afraid to let your daughter have that bonding time, too!  The kids don't always build cars and trucks.  The workshop lists have included birdhouses, picture frames, holiday themed items, and more.

*If you attend a workshop and don't care for it, try a different store location.  Experiences vary at each store, although we have never had a "bad" workshop!

*If you don't like the idea of having your child build the project in the store, you might be able to take a kit home with you, depending on the project.

*If it's a nice day, sometimes the workshops are held outside.  My son built his lawnmower project in a shaded area at the front of Home Depot, on the sidewalk where tables were set up for them.

1 comment:

  1. Those sound great! I don't have kids, but I know that I would have liked those when I was a kid. Instead, my mother used to buy these little build-it-yourself transformer robots from Chinatown. I loved those things, but this sounds even better! :)

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