It started out as a quick trip to grab an extra can of paint for some benches we’re refreshing. The K Man and I walked into The Home Depot after Saturday’s swimming lesson to find several six-foot tables lining the entryway, parents and young kids hammering and gluing some wooden contraption.
“Wow, look, Mommy – can we do that?” asked my nearly four-year-old son (who, incidentally, has a Home Depot-branded workbench of his own in our playroom).
“I don’t even know what that is,” I replied. “Let’s go find out.” We were officially side-tracked.
I asked what was happening – they were making cute little wooden planter boxes, part of a monthly series of workshops just for kids aged 4 to 12 – and if we could participate. A signature orange-coloured apron-clad teenager took my kid’s name and showed us to one of the work stations. There, we found a package with everything we needed (pre-cut pieces of wood and eight tiny nails) alongside glue and a kid-sized hammer.
We worked together to build our planter – he loved hammering the best – and The K Man was given a certificate, an apron, a “Kids’ Workshop” pin and a package of carrot seeds.
I never did get the paint, but we did leave with a $3 bag of soil, a place in the following month’s activity and some very big smiles.
Um, it’s FREE! Everything. All of it. Free, free, free. How had I never heard of this before? I love free!
The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the activity was age-appropriate. An older child – perhaps 6+ – would’ve barely needed any help beyond getting the nails started.
It took 10 minutes from start to finish. If I’d really been desperate for that paint, we certainly could have found the time to go get it. But I was in a bit of a hurry, and I decided getting soil to plant The K Man’s carrot seeds was more important. However, this is a great activity to do with your kids – even if you’re time-strapped.
Carrots. It’s pretty unlikely they’re going to grow in a planter box that measures about eight inches long by four inches wide and no more than two or three inches deep. It would be great if The Home Depot organizers provided seeds for plants or flowers that have a good chance of growing to help round out the experience and teach kids how things grow. We’re playing along, though, watering the seeds and keeping the planter box in the sun – but I’m not hopeful.
The instructions included something to the effect of “paint your planter box in any way you like.” But there was no paint. Beggars can’t be choosers, I know. I really was grateful that we stumbled upon such a fun activity; I just prefer that my kid paints in spaces other than my home, where my neuroses require me to put down plastic sheeting over every surface.
I had to buy one of those gargantuan bags of earth so we could plant those tiny seeds the minute we returned home. Mini soil bags would have been awesome. I probably would have paid $2 for a bag one-quarter of the size for the convenience. Holding my kid’s hand in the parking lot while carrying a heavy bag of soil wasn’t easy. But I could think of nothing worse for my child than not letting him carry out the rest of the activity that day – so we sucked it up.
So…where can you do it?
- Check The Home Depot website for dates and times across Canada (be sure to look for the tricolour hard-hats icon on the left-hand side that indicates a kid-friendly workshop)