A few weeks ago I posted a link on my Facebook page to 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!!!
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.
Lowe's Build and Grow Workshops for Kids
So, how does it work? Let's start with Lowe's. Their programs is called Lowe's Build and Grow Workshop. 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.
The Jersey Momma's Boy 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!
How Complicated are the Projects?
The projects tend to vary in complexity, but an adult should always be there for the tough stuff. They usually require some form of hammering and maybe even some painting. They are geared for kids ages 5 and up. Sometimes there are decals to put on (like on Gravedigger) and instructions usually accompany each kit.
The projects we've made have been nice quality. Gravedigger here is a pretty sturdy toy and my son has always been proud that he made it.
Jersey Momma Tips
These workshops tend to fill up quickly in our area, so be sure to keep an eye on the schedule and write down when the registrations open. They will sometimes allow you to fill a 'no show' slot if you come the day of, but that's not always guaranteed. The website only lists a few projects at a time, probably because everything is in such high demand. So it's good to keep checking their schedule. If you happen to miss one of the workshops that your child really wanted to attend, you can look to see if Lowe's sells the actual kit in the store.
Home Depot Workshops for Kids
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. You need to pre-register and choose your location online. My son has made some adorable creations at Home Depot, all for free. 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, so I get to 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.