UPDATE 2/19/17: Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that Lowe’s is no longer offering their Build and Grow Kids Clinics 🙁
Please visit this website for more information and any updates should they become available.
If you are looking for a similar activity, you can check out our post on the FREE Kids Workshops at The Home Depot.
Pssst! Did you catch our segment on Better Connecticut today? We’re giving you a guided tour of one of the best places IN THE WORLD to see real dinosaur footprints…and it’s right here in Connecticut! Check it out here.
UPDATE 4/17/15: Hi everyone! I’ve gotten several questions about the age range for this event. I did not find any “official” age range, and the nice folks at the Manchester store did not seem to enforce any minimum age to participate. When we were there, we saw little kids who needed a lot of help from their parents, as well as older kids who could complete the project independently. I would say that as long as your little one can hold a hammer (even if you are holding it with them!), they will enjoy the event. Hope this helps!
A few months ago, I wrote about the FREE kids workshops at The Home Depot. Well, based on the overwhelmingly positive response, it seems that many of our readers were already big fans of this event! I even had several readers let me know that Lowe’s has a similar FREE program for kids called the Build and Grow Kids Clinics. And last weekend I got a chance to check it out with Boo and one of his buddies.
One key difference between this program and the one at The Home Depot is that you really need to register ahead of time for the Lowe’s program. They will accept unregistered drop-ins if there are kits available, but the number of “extra” kits is very small in comparison to the ones sent for registered participants. So it’s always a better idea to register in advance.
I know, I know. You’ve got a lot of things to remember and even more to do. But this will only take minutes of your time, I promise– and it will be totally worth it to know that there will be a project kit there waiting for your kiddo. (Drop-in programs are convenient, but there’s always that little uncertainty that you’ll get all the way there and there won’t be space for you, especially when they are free–not so with registered programs!)
That process is very easy and can be completed online here. Just click the “full schedule” button and you’ll be taken to a page that will allow you to register (once registration opens, that is; until then it will just show you the date). According to their website, registration for the clinics opens a FEW WEEKS before the event (for the May 9, 2015 event coming up next the opening date for registration is 4/27/15). And let me tell you, if you have plans to g0 to the Manchester, CT store like I did, you are going to want to mark your calendar to register. It fills up fast!
I tried to get the skinny on exactly how long before the event the online registration opens up, but no dice. Even the store didn’t know the secret code! But if any of our readers are regular attendees and have the 411 on that, I’d love to know! Let’s see, the next event is on May 9th, and registration opens on April 27th, so that’s less than two weeks. But I’m almost sure I registered for that last event over two weeks before…Hmmm. I’ll have to see what they do for the next month and figure out if there’s a pattern 🙂
Fortunately, these clinics happen nationwide, so if your regular store is full before you get a chance to register, you can probably find one not too far away with some open spaces.
Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email confirmation with an attached printable waiver that you can fill out and bring to the store (or, if you’re like me, you’ll print it out 2 weeks in advance, forget about it completely, and then need to fill out a new one when you get to the store– no biggie!).
The time frame given for the clinic is 10:00-11:00am, but you’ll want to arrive right around 10:00am to guarantee your spot. At the Manchester store, they hold your kit until 10:15, at which point it becomes first come, first served.
I know it may seem a little rigid, but can you imagine if they had to turn away all these excited drop-in kids and then the registered people never even showed up? That wouldn’t be so nice, right? So do try to get there close to 10:00am. It will save everyone some heartache.
So we arrived at the Lowe’s in Manchester, CT around 10:00am on Saturday morning and made our way over to the “Lumber” aisle. The clinic takes place down this aisle, all the way at the back of the store. There’s a long workbench set up (plus a flurry of activity from excited little ones), so you can’t miss it. There will be someone standing at the front of the work area who will check you in and give you your materials.
We were given an apron, an iron-on patch for the project, safety goggles, and our project kit (all to keep). And then also a pint-sized hammer (you give that back at the end).
The project today was a “See It Grow Planter”.
Perfect for this time of year!
Lucky for me, we found out the day before that one of Boo’s good buddies (and his dad) were going to be at this event too. Aren’t these boys just adorable?!
So anyway, this worked out great because my hubby had some errands to do with the little guy (who was way too young for this), so I had a sub-hub (substitute husband) for this outing! Sweet!
Similar to The Home Depot event, this kit came with detailed instructions, pre-fab pieces and little nails to put them together with.
It’s only been a few months since our last workshop experience, but this time Boo really took charge with the hammer! He did still need some adult assistance with this one, especially to help get the nails started, but I can tell that he is getting more skilled at it.
The project took us about 15-20 minutes to complete, which is about the attention span of a 4-year-old anyway.
Cute how the workbench is exactly the right height for them, right?
The boys were very pleased with the results 🙂
Next stop, fill the planter with some dirt and plant some seeds.
Voila! Now we can take it home and watch it grow.
After the planting, we made a quick trip to the restroom at the back of the store for a little hand washing.
FYI, there’s a changing table here if you need it.
And then it was time to
look at curtains, check out tile, see the cabinets, flip through the area rugs, take a lap around the store hoping Boo wouldn’t notice my undercover browsing 🙂
A little project for Boo, a little shopping for me. Now that’s my kind of Saturday morning!
Have you been to a FREE Lowe’s Build and Grow Kids Clinic? What did you think?
And if you’re looking for even more FREE kids’ classes and programs, I’ve started a Pinterest board to track the ones we’ve been to. Who says you can’t have fun on a budget? 🙂
This post was at Lowe’s in Manchester, CT but this is a nationwide program.
Phone: (860) 644-7220
The Lowe’s Build and Grow Kids Clinic is from 10:00-11:00am on select Saturday mornings. Check the schedule for upcoming events (typically once a month). You must register in advance to guarantee a spot. Registration usually opens a few weeks prior to the event.
- Stroller Friendly: YES.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES.
- Restroom: YES. There is a restroom in the back of the store.
- Baby Changing Station: YES.
- Parking: YES.
- Food for Sale: NO.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: NO.
- Dress Code: NO. But just be aware that you are working with tools and possibly kneeling on the floor at times.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. Build and Grow events take place on Saturdays!
- Discounts: Can’t do better than FREE!
- Birthday Party Venue: NO.
- NEW New England Air Museum – Located in Windsor Locks, CT, NEAM houses dozens of historic civilian and military aircraft and memorabilia in two giant hangers that visitors can tour. A family-friendly destination, the museum also hosts a variety of fun and educational events and activities for kids. Check out their 2015 April vacation activities from 4/13-4/17 & 4/20-4/24! (Read the OAAM post on this destination here)
- Connecticut Children’s Medical Center – The state’s only free-standing hospital that offers comprehensive, world-class health care to children. Based in Hartford, Connecticut Children’s also provides services at several locations throughout the state.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT, this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Mandell JCC – The Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, CT, welcomes and serves families and individuals of all ages, stages, backgrounds and faiths. Our fitness, wellness and recreation, arts and culture, camp, early childhood education programs, classes, clubs and services are open to all. You Belong Here!
- Marie-Chantal Luxury Children’s wear – Giving one lucky reader a chance to WIN $500 to spend in their online store. Marie-Chantal is a global lifestyle brand creating unique and beautifully crafted designer children’s clothes and gifts for boys and girls from newborn to 12 years old.
Want to keep up with things to do with kids in Connecticut?
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