Check your local hardware retailers for these free workshop series and do-it-yourself clinics. Lowe’s Home Improvement offers a workshop series on select Saturdays through their “Build and Grow” program. Home Depot also offers a free kids clinic on the first Saturday of the month, recently featuring Minion characters and offering home crafts like hanging chalkboards. Check the schedules on the official sites.
This summer, the Lowe’s workshop features Avengers Assemble, the Marvel characters with their respective vehicles in wooden-toy form. As of this writing, the Hulk’s tank and Hawkeye’s jet are next on the docket. SoVa Parents attended the Captain America wooden toy motorcycle workshop and the Black Widow sky cycle.
What you get
- Free kit contains necessary pre-cut wood pieces and screws
- Workshop allows kids to build the craft at their own pace — independently or with parental help*
- Get a free apron
- Receive a patch and certificate
- Goggles and tools are provided
What we loved
- Children get to learn how to use real tools and be hands-on with real building materials
- Sense of accomplishment from building and making
- Great learning opportunity and parent-child quality time outside the house
- Individualized experience
- Make something together! And immediately play with it when you finish!
Continue reading below…
Boy sticks out his tongue while concentrating on aiming his hammer. All rights reserved.
Things to know
- The experience can vary depending on the age of the child and the supervising parent. That can make for a highly cooperative experience, hands-off supervision, or the parent building the entire project while the child watches.
- The projects vary in complexity and length-to-completion.
- Some of the kits contain very small, easily breakable parts. For instance, the Captain America toy required positioning the assembly very specifically on a ledge at a particular angle; otherwise, pieces would break. That can be challenging for a kid of any age wielding a hammer. The kit doesn’t come with extra parts. A full workshop won’t have replacement parts to spare, and there’s no glue provided to make minor repairs on the fly. In our case, one time a replacement part was available. The second time, the broken part was non-essential anyway, so we just continued without it and our child didn’t mind.
- The Lowe’s website states that you receive a free set of goggles, but our local store distributed these on loan only (not for keeps). That’s okay, but different than advertised. We did get to keep the cardboard cutout that clipped onto the goggles, but taking that home doesn’t do much good if you don’t have any goggles as a base.
Lowe’s – Saturdays at 10am
Home Depot – First Saturday of the month at 9am
Registration strongly suggested to guarantee your space.
*The event at Lowe’s was not instructor-led, although there was a pre-assembled kit for a visual reference and one employee manning a registration table. She was managing the check-in and check-out of the provided tools, issuing certificates, etc. Parents answered most of the questions and other families at the tables generally helped each other out on some of the trickier steps. Realize before you go that this is not a class format.