Curious kids age 3-12 can participate free workshops at Home Depot stores with their parents on the first Saturday morning of the month. Parents and kids learn how to build various wooden crafts such as toolboxes, fire trucks, wagons, and more. Our friend, Wendy from Wendolonia, took her sons and shared more details below.
The workshops are designed for kids aged 5-12 and are offered the first Saturday of every month from 9-noon. This is an open-house type event, so you can come at any time during the open hours. You do not have to be there right at 9:00 am. and if you do show up at the beginning, there will probably be a line. I've never gone later in the morning, so I don't know if they run out of kits.
I saw children as young as two or three. If you want to give your own child a hammer and nails, they will not stop you or check for ID.
When you arrive, first timers are given an apron and a pin representing the current month's project. In subsequent visits kids will get the collectable pin, but they are expected to bring back their aprons. Once it's your turn at the table, Home Depot employees give the kids a kit with supplies for the project (often some type of wooden toy or vehicle). The helpers work with a couple kids at a time, walking them through the steps and coaching them on the proper use of the tools.
On a recent visit, my 9 year old was able to complete his truck with very little help, but I gave my 5 year old a great deal of hands on assistance. You can sign up in advance on the Home Depot web site (which we did) but when we went no one asked for our names or anything — we just lined up with the other families and waited for our turns at the table — so I'm guessing you can skip this step.
According to the Home Depot website, all locations are participating.
The workshops teach children do-it-yourself skills and tool safety, while at the same time helping to instill a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, this fun time allows for quality one-on-one time between adults and children.
If you DO want to try this at home, Home Depot now offers downloadable instructions as part of a Science Fair Central partnership with Discovery Education. See recent and upcoming projects AND get your own instructions over here >
[Photo of the two boys by Wendy Copley; other pics by Heather Flett, all rights reserved]