Since we moved into our new house about 6 months ago–and it needs a little, er, sprucing up–we have been spending a lot of time at The Home Depot. On my frequent trips there, I was always seeing signs for The Home Depot Kids Workshops. But since I was inevitably in a rush, I never remembered to get the specifics.
Finally, back in November, with a fuzzy idea of the details, Boo and I set out one Saturday morning to get the inside scoop on this mysterious event. Well, we had such a wonderful time that we have been back for just about every Kids Workshop since! And so today, I am going to make sure that everyone has the info they need to be able to enjoy this TOTALLY FREE event as much as we do.
As you may know by now, I live in Glastonbury. So we headed to our local store on Putnam Boulevard. But this is actually a NATIONAL EVENT, so you can go to your local Home Depot and enjoy it too. I will say that I have heard that the event varies somewhat from store to store, so what I show you today may not look exactly like what you see at your own local store. Unless, of course, you live in Glastonbury 🙂
So let’s start with some helpful tips:
1. The Home Depot Kids’ Workshop takes place on the FIRST SATURDAY OF EVERY MONTH (UPDATE 11/6/15: PLEASE NOTE that the Glastonbury store no longer holds these workshops on the 3rd Saturday of the month as well; just the 1st Saturday of the month.)
2. It takes place from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Now, this does not mean that the workshop is 3 hours long. You can drop in any time between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Well, actually, I’d say anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., since by noon they have usually started cleaning up already, at least at my store. (The good news is that even if you get there too late to build, if there are extra kits still available, they may let you take the project home with you instead–never hurts to ask!). The Home Depot’s website says something about registering in advance, but that’s not necessary for my store, and I have heard anecdotally that other stores do not require registration either. Your safest bet is always to call your local store to confirm their procedures, but I would feel pretty confident that if you drop-in for the workshop, no one is going to turn you away 🙂
3. It’s recommended for ages 5-12, but younger children are welcome. As long as your little one can help you hold a hammer, they will be able to participate. Obviously, the younger your child is, the more help he or she will need. Boo is 4, and we definitely saw kids as young as 2 1/2 -3 there.
4. It’s called a “Workshop” but there isn’t any formal instruction going on. There are Home Depot staff members on hand to help as needed, but for the most part you and your little one just work at your own pace to complete the project. So don’t worry about things like attention span and following directions, because this is not really a class. It’s an opportunity for you and your little handyboy or handygirl to work together to complete a fun woodworking project (and most importantly, not have to clean up your house after. Ha!).
5. There could be paint. You’ve been warned 🙂
6. This is my favorite one: it’s totally, completely, 100% FREE! You do not need to purchase anything. (Although, I defy you to go into a Home Depot and not need to pick anything up while you are there. We always need something. On the other hand, love the multitasking!)
As I mentioned, the first time Boo and I ventured out for this activity, we had no idea what to expect. So we headed over to The Home Depot around 9:00 a.m.
At this store, the Kids Workshops are set up at the front of the store, but down near the tool rental. Even if you park on the completely wrong side of the store down by the garden center and enter over there (like we did, oops), you really can’t miss it.
The first thing to do is fill out one of these forms that will be on hand. Your kiddo will also get a FREE Home Depot apron that he or she can personalize with their name (more on aprons and accessories later).
To get an idea of what the project is going to be each month, you can check The Home Depot’s website as the projects are usually synched up nationally. As luck would have it, we came on a “choose your own project” day, so we got to pick our building kit. Yes, I said “kit.” So you can breathe a sigh of relief now. You are not going to be handed scrap lumber and a cup of nails and told to turn it into a doll house. You will get a prefabricated kit that includes everything you will need to make your project–including step-by-step instructions. So you do not need to be a contractor, or even the least bit handy to participate in this workshop with your child. Whew.
Boo is really into birds these days, so he chose the birdhouse. Other projects available this day included model cars, trucks, helicopters, riding lawn mowers as well as more functional items such as mini crates and small tool boxes (great for storing things later!).
After selecting our project, we headed down the line of tables to find a free spot to work. All the tools you’ll need will be set up on these tables, so you can just find a spot and get building.
Here’s what came in the kit. It includes all the pieces, plus the nails to put them together.
Boo is 4, and I did have to help him with just about every building step from finding the right pieces to spreading the glue to hammering the nails (he was fine flying solo for the decorating part later though). So if you have a preschooler participating, this will be a very hands-on activity for you too.
I know it looks like Boo is doing the whole thing by himself, but that’s just because I couldn’t really get any pictures of us building together (which would have been a more accurate account of the activity). In my infinite wisdom (not) I told hubby I could go this one alone while he got some rare one-on-one time with our little guy at home. Of all the outings to not have my backup, I pick the one where there will be sharp objects, tools and paint. Not my brightest idea.
In this shot I was helping Boo hammer while simultaneously taking a picture. That probably could have been disastrous in so many ways but fortunately the photo came out. Sometimes I feel like Mandy and I should have a separate blog called “How NOT to take pictures” 🙂
After we assembled the birdhouse, it was time to decorate. The kit had come with a set of stickers (it was a Wizard of Oz theme–the house even had feet sticking out from under it!). I tried to convince Boo that it would be better to paint the house first and then apply the stickers over the paint, but he was insistent that the stickers should come first. I have been a parent long enough now to know which battles are not even worth putting up a teeny tiny fight for, so I just went with it.
The paint is special kids’ paint so it is non-toxic and (supposedly) washable. It does wash off hands really easily, but I can tell you that it does not come off clothing once it is dry. We had an unfortunate accident with a shirt sleeve on one of our future visits and no amount of stain remover would get that paint out (and believe me, I tried!). So just dress for a mess in case. And roll up their sleeves!
The Glastonbury store had hair dryers available to help accelerate the paint-drying process, and let me tell you, that was pure genius! Can you imagine trying to tote a freshly painted project home in your car? Especially if your little one is so proud of their work that they want to hold it on the way home? Yeah. That would not be good. So thank heavens The Home Depot thought of that!
Now just look at how proud this little boy is of his creation!
You can even apply a special stamp to the bottom to commemorate the occasion.
As a special treat, Boo was even allowed to pick another project to take home and build with daddy later.
From the time we picked out our project to the time we finished drying the paint, it had been about 45 minutes. Some people definitely finished faster than we did, though. I’d expect to spend at least 20-30 minutes there.
After we finished, we headed to the back of the store to find the restrooms and wash up. (FYI, there is a changing station in here.)
Then it was off to do a little more shopping for all our ongoing DIY projects. Like I said, we always need something from The Home Depot 🙂
Since this visit, Boo has been back 2 more times for the Kids Workshops. He built a special “give and save bank” as part of their holiday events in December, and in January the project was a mini sled. One week, when we were off to another outing and couldn’t go to the Kids Workshop, we were even able to just stop by and pick up the project kit to take home with us. Still FREE!
Each time he completes a project he gets a new badge (pin) for his apron. He just loves that. He also got a (paper) certificate of achievement for each one, but that didn’t always make it all the way home 🙂
I have to say, this outing has really been one of my favorite finds. It’s wonderfully interactive, a little challenging, lots of fun, and of course, completely FREE! What’s not to love?!
So haul out your calendar and circle the first Saturday of every month. You really don’t want to miss this!
Have you been to The Home Depot Kids Workshops? Tell us about your experience at your local store by leaving a comment on this post. Thanks!
(This is a national event, but this particular post is written about the Glastonbury Home Depot at 115 Putnam Boulevard, Glastonbury, Connecticut)
The Home Depot Kids Workshops take places every 1st Saturday of the month between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm. (UPDATE 11/6/15: PLEASE NOTE that the Glastonbury Home Depot no longer hosts a Kids Workshop on the 3rd Saturday of every month as well; just the 1st Saturday of the month.)
You can go anytime between those hours and you should expect to spend at least 20-30 minutes on your project.
The Home Depot Kids Workshops are FREE!
- Stroller Friendly: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Restroom: YES.
- Baby Changing Station: YES.
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: NO.
- Outside Food Allowed: As far as I know, The Home Depot doesn’t restrict food in the store. But if you thought taking pictures while wielding a hammer was a bad idea, then you won’t want to try it while eating a snack 🙂
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: Dress for a mess.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. The Workshop is on Saturday mornings.
- Discounts: Can’t do better than FREE!
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