By Allison Holm
For many families, a weekend trip to Lowe's is a year-round occurrence, and often an outing to look forward to. Our 3-year-old son loves to help his dad choose a new set of tools or pick out vegetable starters for our garden. We recently checked out the free Build & Grow workshop that Lowe's hosts on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. (check here for a schedule).
This hands-on, interactive workshop gives children the opportunity to build a simple wooden craft. They learn to follow directions, use a hammer (kid-sized hammers available!), and gain a sense of achievement. Even the youngest builders can take pride in their work (our preschooler was very proud of his masterpiece). Store employees are available to help the kids with the project, and parents are encouraged to assist as well.
We attended the workshop featuring the “Piranhahkeet Chomper” from the new movie, The Croods. Graham had a blast studying the directions with his dad, sorting out the pieces and hammering in the nails (thank goodness for the pint-sized hammer- no sore thumbs here!). There were about 25 kids total, and plenty of room and supplies for everyone.
After completing their craft, the little carpenters receive a project-themed iron-on patch to put on their apron and a certificate of merit, signed by the Lowe's employee. This was a huge hit for Graham. We spotted quite a few kids with multiple patches on their aprons, collected from previous workshops. Past crafts have included bird feeders, helicopters, race cars, treasure chests and trellis planters.
In these days of computers, iPads and video games, good, old-fashioned wood working (or any crafting for that matter), plays an important role in hands-on learning, encouraging problem-solving, creative thinking and conceptualization. Woodworking aids in the development of dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and rewards kids with tangible results that they can treasure. Kiddos learn to practice safety and as well as counting, measuring and problem-solving. They also learn the importance of following directions and the patience of creating something from start to finish.
Graham was so proud of his new-found carpentry skills, and still plays with his “chomper.” We will definitely return for more. Did we mention that it’s free?
If you go ...
Where/when: Build & Grow workshops are hosted at select Lowe's stores on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. (check here for a schedule). Projects can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on the level of craft and your child’s ability. Next one up, it looks like, is a Mother's Day gift workshop.
Age range: Workshops are recommended for kiddos grades 1-5 (although my 3-year-old got just as much out of it as the 7-year-old next to us).
Register: Pre-registration online is recommended but not required; you can also register in the store but many workshops fill up, so check to see that there is room. The first 50 kids to register and be present at the store will receive a craft kit, apron and goggles (which you can take home!).
About the author: A born and raised Seattle girl, Allison spent her “early years” satisfying her wanderlust and now lives in Kirkland with her husband, 3-year-old son and (most would say) too many pets. A freelance writer, serious coffee lover (who isn’t?) and jogging stroller enthusiast, Allison loves to get out and explore her city, especially through the eyes of her child. Find more of her stories on her blog, Seattle Travel Mom. She took all the photos for this article.