The Build & Grow clinics are offered roughly twice per month on Saturdays at 10:00am. They are completely FREE! Honestly, there are no strings attached…well, except on the apron your child will get to take home for FREE!
According to the Build & Grow website:
From project basics to giving your child the opportunity to say, “I built it!”, our Build and Grow kid’s clinics are a great way to help build confidence! Bring the kids into any Lowe’s store and build a FREE wooden project. Each participant also receives a free apron, goggles, a project themed patch, and a certification of merit upon completion of their project.
Before the day of the clinic, you will need to register your child(ren) using the the Lowe’s Build & Grow website.
You enter how many children you are registering, and then enter your zip code. Based on your zip code, a drop down menu of stores near you will be listed. (If stores have already reached maximum capacity, they will not be included in the list.)
There are 50 kits available at each store, so sign up early to ensure you get one! I’ve found that new clinics are typically posted about 2 weeks in advance–usually on Saturday mornings–so I try to sign up for the next clinic either before we head out to a Build & Grow Clinic or as soon as we get home from one we’ve just done.
The clinics are recommended for grades 1st through 5th. After asking around a bit, I found that many parents take their younger children. Luke is currently 3 years, 11 months and Lilah is currently 28 months; we’ve been taking them to the clinics for the past 4 months. We usually see other kids their age attending as well. Obviously we have to help them more than we would a 1st-5th grader, but they are quite capable of most of the work with a little help and just as proud at the end.
If you’re unsure whether or not your child is old enough or mature enough to participate, read through my description of what the clinic is like, and you be the judge. You can always try one and see how it goes!
When you get to Lowe’s the day of the clinic, you can either ask an employee where the Build & Grow clinic meets or walk around the store listening for lots of hammering! In the two Lowe’s stores we’ve been to for the clinics, we met in a room at the back of the store near the rugs/carpeting and bathrooms for one, and in a room at the front for the other.
It’s helpful if you bring the waiver form when you go. You have the option of printing it when you initially sign up online, or when Lowe’s emails you a reminder about 2 days before the clinic (there will be a link to print included in the email). Even if you register more than one child, you only need the one form with everyone’s information on it.
Hand the form to the employees running the Build & Grow clinic. (They typically use your form to get the certificate of completion filled out while you’re building.) They will hand you a kit and a hammer. Then you are free to go pick a spot to work. There are usually tables set up, but we’ve found it’s much easier to work on the floor if there is space available. Aprons and goggles are usually laid out on the tables. Each child working gets one set to keep. (We only took an apron and goggles on our first visit.)
When you open up your kit, you will find an instruction pamphlet. (Keep it once you finish, because it has fun facts and activities you can read and do later at home!)
Unfold it, and there will be numbered instructions with pictures.
We usually start by laying out our instructions, our pieces, and our nails, which are all included in the kit. Then we find #1 on the page and find the pieces pictured.
L&L help by finding the pieces and then insert the nails into the holes we show them. DH and I typically get the parts lined up and “start” the hammering so that the pieces and nail are somewhat secured before handing it over to L&L to hammer. We also finish up the hammering ourselves if it needs just a little more.
Typically there are 5-7 steps that need to be completed. Once the project is built, there are often paper additions which need to be hammered on or stickers that need to be applied.
Once your project is complete, you give your hammer back to the employees running the clinic and show them your completed project. They will keep the hammer, and in exchange, give your child a certificate of completion with their name written on it, and a patch to put on their apron.
The goggles, apron, wooden project, certificate, and patch are all yours to keep for FREE!
There honestly are no catches and it doesn’t cost you a dime — as long as you can make it out of the store without finding something you need to buy. We usually can’t (lol), but since we shop at Lowe’s all the time anyway, it’s kind of nice to know we’re going to be there every other weekend, so we don’t have to make lots of extra trips.
Here are some of the projects L&L have built:
|Luke’s 1st project — a fire truck with working siren|
|Luke & his fire truck|
|Monster Machines — this was the first project we took both L&L to build|
|Science Labs — this is one of our favs!|
|We have fun doing the suggested experiments!|
|Castle with working drawbridge — we built this one today!
We added a blue play dough moat once we got home!
|It came with a princess, knights, and a dragon.
We also found some small plastic knights in a tube at Target that work great with it!
L&L have also built a monster truck with flashing light, a caboose, a coal car, a pull-back train engine, and Santa’s sleigh!
As for their patches and aprons, I got very behind at the beginning as I was contemplating how to sew them on. I took them with me to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving, hoping she would help me since she sews, but she suggested I glue them on! Why didn’t I think of that???
Following her advice, I went to A.C. Moore (similar to Michael’s) and bought Aleene’s Permanent Fabric Glue.
I put some glue on the patch and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I place the patch onto the apron and press down; my plan is to fill all the space on the pockets of the apron first.
I let the patch sit for a little while once it’s on the apron. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but then I normally cover the patch with waxed paper and put something heavy (like a book) on top. It takes quite awhile to dry, so I normally leave it for at least 24 hours before checking to see if it’s dried.
|Luke’s apron — he has one more patch than Lilah|
I had my doubts about the fabric glue at the beginning, but this stuff really holds well! If you don’t sew or if you do sew but were worried about sewing the patches on crooked like me, this is a great option! Though it takes 24 hours or so to dry, it only takes a minute or two of actual hands-on time. I normally glue the new patch on soon after we get home from a clinic so I don’t forget!
(At a recent clinic, I overhead one parent say the patches were iron-on. I do not know if that’s true or not, but might be worth a try. My fear is that the apron might melt if ironed, so do be careful if you try it! I’m going to stick to my glue! No pun intended!)
So, that’s basically what the Lowe’s Build & Grow clinics are like. If your child can sit for 20-40 minutes, stay focused on a task, and has decent fine-motor skills (placing small nails, hammering, etc.), then they are probably ready to try it! L&L are always so proud of their creations and I think it is awesome for them to see a project go from parts to a whole.
|Not to mention, many of the projects are fun to play with long after they’re built!|
You can also buy various kid’s building kits both in store and online. They have kid tools available for purchase, too. L&L got a kids’ tool kit each and several building kits for Christmas from Lowe’s!
|L&L with their new tool kits from Lowe’s on Christmas.|
I personally cannot thank Lowe’s Home Improvement enough for offering these great clinics…and especially, for FREE! We absolutely love them and I feel that L&L are learning so much. Everyone to whom we’ve recommended the Build & Grow clinics has reported back how much they enjoy them, too!
So, what are YOU waiting for? Go sign up today! I just did!
Has your child participated in a Lowe’s Build & Grow clinic? How old is he/she? What was your experience with the program?
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