Widgets Magazine

Mar 4, 2011

Friday Freebie: Build and Grow

I have to tell you that I love Saturdays! The kids are out of school, my sweetie is usually not working, and sometimes (depending on the sport or dance schedule) we have a little time together. One of my favorite ways to use that free time is to hang out at our local home improvement stores and make a fun free wood project with my kids. 

 The first Saturday of the month is the kids’ class at Home Depot. You have to sign up several weeks before, and at our Home Depot they hang the sign up sheets near the returns desk. They usually recommend 3rd – 5th graders, but they have always let all my kids participate as long as I put their names on the list. So you show up on the day of the class. They give you a free apron, goggles (nobody actually wears these over their eyes, but they make a nice necklace!), and your kit. 

$2 at homedepot.com
You know those orange Home Depot project buckets? They tip those over and they become your table and chairs. They cover some with sheets of plywood and they set out hammers that are just right for the little ones. I’m a little too tall for the bucket chairs, so my legs always go to sleep but the kids don’t seem to mind. We usually take up a whole table by the time the grandkids show up and 2 kids/adult seems to be a good ratio for us. Just be careful which kids you offer to hold the nails for! When Scout was little she smashed my finger several times before I got smart and started putting her next to my sweetie. 

The wood pieces have predrilled holes for the nails and that makes them very kid-friendly.  The instructions are usually easy to follow with pictures of each step, but sometimes the kids don’t pay any attention and they end up nailing in a piece upside down or backwards or both. Then my sweetie spends the next ten minutes trying to pry those thin pieces of wood apart without breaking anything. I’ve taken to asking the assistants if there are any "tricks to this one" before we start. They usually laugh and admit where they screwed up their first kit attempt. 

In February we made these cute little heart shelves. The kits take about 20 minutes, although the time we made birdhouses we were there for over an hour! (Those darn slanted roof pieces were almost impossible to line up, but I don’t think the birds care if they live in a Dr. Suess house.) Since we couldn’t think of any reason we wanted to keep seven of these little shelves, we took them home and spray-painted them pink. My sweetie did the red accents on them and then we had the kids give them to their teachers for Valentine’s Day. The teachers loved them! They were unique and calorie-free. 

Lowe’s offers two classes each month on the first and third Saturdays. Their signups are all on-line at www.lowesbuildandgrow.com We attend nearly every class and Wendy, the cute girl in charge of handing out the kits, knows each of our kids by their first names! In February we made these Valentine’s Day music boxes with the heart-shaped top. My dancer girls were excited because the music boxes actually played Swan Lake! On the third week of February they offered these fun pull-back cars.  Their classes are pretty much the same as the Home Depot ones and when the kids are finished and show off their projects they are awarded a patch at Lowe’s and a pin at Home Depot.  

In December Lowe's offered three classes, one each Saturday and each class gave us a different piece of a train!  These pieces were designed to hook together.  So after the third and final class we gathered around the kitchen table and let the kids paint them.  Now they all have their own little Christmas trains.  All of these classes are free, but it is difficult to sign up right before the class. The night before we go to a class I usually get on-line and sign up for next month’s class. They do have a limited number of kits. Try one out and let us know what you think! Or leave us a comment if you have been to one. Our contest for March starts next week! Check back for more details.


Anonymous said...

I'm just saying that dance is a sport. It's the best sport! Totally more rocking than like basketball or tennis or something! Dance all the way!

Katie said...

Sounds like fun! Hopefully when we leave here we will be near one (or both!) of those places so we can start taking our kids, I am sure they would have fun.

Mom said...

I just want you to know that we sooo agree that dance is a sport! All of the girls have danced or do dance now. They are loving it! It requires more physical ability than many other sports. Thanks for sticking up for the dancers!

Anonymous said...

Sound like fun! Has Big Daddy changed his name to sweetie now?

Mom said...

Well, he doesn't really like that name (too much like The Frog Princess, I guess) so I just don't use it.


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