Thanks to the notices on the Magical Blogorail site I became aware of the great Build and Grow events put on by Lowes. These are FREE events (yes, I said free) meant to get kids involved with building and introducing them to basic tools.
These clinics are held every two weeks and registration is opened a couple of weeks in advance. Disney sponsors many of these events and in the past have had kits for making cars from Toy Story or chracters from Monsters Inc.
Little Man and I were lucky enough to get a spot for making Dusty from the new Disney Planes movie. He was a bit nervous at first but that quickly changed.
When we first got there there was a bit of chaos. The classes are meant to hold 40 kids. If you add in parents and grand parents the rooms can quickly fill up. Luckily I met a regular standing in line and she gave me some tips which I will share with you.
As you enter the room you will be given the kit and any tools you need. If it is your first time you will also get an apron and goggles. There may be limited access to the tables but as the regular shared with me sitting on the floor is actually better.
Seems when a lot of kids hit a table with hammers it bounces. Hint #1: sit on the floor if you can.
With your child completely outfitted it is time to begin. Everything is self paced so there is no hurry. If an adult was to do this it could take only 5 minutes but let you child figure it out and enjoy the moment. Hint #2: there is no time limit so take your time. Employees will be hand as long as you are working.
Adults, read the directions first. Me and a handful of the other parents messed up step 1 because we were supposed to add a sticker BEFORE nailing. Hint #3: Review all steps before starting.
Since you have the time walk your child through the directions having them tell you what the next step is. Talk about how the pieces line up and what tools to use. This really is a learning experience. At one point Little Man was right and he had to help Mom understand the next step. I was proud and slightly embarrassed at the same time. Hint #4: Take the time to teach your child how to read directions and use tools.
Now there is a layer of trust here as you have given your child a hammer and they are swinging it at your hands. But go a head and let them take a shot at it. If you are getting injured maybe take turns hammering. I also found that even though there were pilot holes it was easier if I sort of stuck things together first before he took the first swing. Hint #5: Push nails through the pilot holes prior to letting your child swing the hammer to reduce the chance of getting hurt or bending a nail.
Once finished they receive a badge to be ironed onto their apron and a certificate of achievement which this bad mom forgot to pick up. Now take a photo of them showing off their accomplishment.
Little Man was so proud of himself. He came into the workshop shy and ill at ease and left flying his airplane and tell everyone ‘he did it’. It made this Mom proud. In fact since then he has opened up his directions more than once and walking us through how he did it. He is quite the handyman.
Will we go back again? YES! These workshops are definitely for the younger crowd. Little Man is 3 and had no trouble with the instructions or using the tools. But I would say children over the age of 6 may get bored quickly.
Would I do anything different? Just one thing. Now that Little Man has been playing with his plane it has become loose. Hint #6: If offered, use the wood glue. In our room there was one bottle of it but I did not see it until the end.