If you are anything like us, you spend a lot of time trying to find fun, cheap activities for your children to do during the summer; and if these activities can have a Disney theme, all the better!
One place that has come to the rescue this summer is the home improvement store Lowe’s. Like its rival, Home Depot, Lowe’s has been offering free children’s building workshops for a while now. While Home Depot offers their workshops once a month, Lowe’s offers one every other week. The themes of these projects vary, but Lowe’s tends to include more licensed characters than Home Depot. For example, there were recent projects for Shrek and The Croods. This summer, however, has been all about Disney. In June, there were two workshops focused on Monsters University; in July, they were based on Toy Story; and in August, there will be two workshops based on Disney’s Planes.
Before You Go: It is very important that you register for these events. According to our Lowe’s, they are only sent enough kits for the number of registered kids. Visit www.lowesbuildandgrow.com ahead of time to select a clinic (each clinic is held twice in one weekend: Saturday at 10AM and Sunday at 2PM), register your children and print out the waiver you need to bring to the store. Most clinic registrations open up a couple of weeks before the clinic, so check back often so the spots don’t fill up.
Arriving: You should get to Lowe’s a little before your clinic start time, but the nice thing is that you are pre-registered, so you won’t have to fight big crowds to get your kit. (We are big LEGO fans as well; this is nothing like the masses that attend the monthly free builds at the LEGO Store, where wait times to get into the store can exceed an hour!) Once you arrive, find out where in the store the clinic is happening. Ours take place in the lumber section, where the aisles tend to be wider and can handle some families sitting around for an hour. While some Lowe’s will have tables set up, our Lowe’s doesn’t; they provide carpet swatches for you to sit on on the floor. Once you check in and give in the waivers, your children will be given that week’s kit, an apron, safety goggles and a mini hammer – all of which are FREE TO KEEP.
Building: The kits come packaged with everything you’ll need to build: the wood, the nails, stickers, cardboard accessories, and directions.
The directions are very easy to follow and usually only have 4-5 steps. The wood is, obviously, all pre-cut and the holes are all pre-drilled, so the nails slip in almost all of the way and only require some minor hammering to keep the build together. I usually give the nails a whack or two, then let the boys have at it; then I’ll help them finish nailing if they need it.
After everything is nailed together, there are usually stickers and other accessories that are to be added to give the build its final look.
Finishing Up: After the kids are done building, we take a few minutes to clean up our area. This includes throwing away any trash and returning the carpets; we also return the hammers, since we usually don’t bring our own and don’t need to get a new free one every time we go. When the kids present their kits to the person running the clinic, they will each receive a certificate and a patch that is specific to that week’s clinic. Pretty cool!
On our way out of the store, we usually stop by the wall with the big calendar of the upcoming clinics.
We are excited about returning twice next month to build a couple of the stars of Planes: Dusty and El Chupacabra! Don’t forget to go here to register, and have fun!