Hands-On Summer Learning


Just because your kids are not enrolled in summer school doesn’t mean that learning should be put on hold until September.

My 7-year-old has no desire to spend her summer days cooped up in a classroom; however, that hasn’t stopped her from gaining new skills since she bid farewell to second grade weeks ago. In fact, thanks to a slew of educational programs run by various organizations, my daughter is more enthused about learning than she has been in months.

One of the highlights of her summer, the construction of a wood birdhouse, thanks to Home Depot’s Kids Workshops. The hands-on tutorials are designed for children ages 5 to 12 years old, and the best part is–they’re free. The workshops are run by Home Depot staff at store locations throughout the nation on the first Saturday of the month. Instruction begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. During that time kids are given simple projects to work on. In the process of constructing their craft, kids learn about various tools and how to use them safely, and in my daughter’s case, are also shown that building is not a male-only skill.

My daughter had a blast constructing her home for birds, though it didn’t start out that way. When the class first started she was very reluctant to swing a hammer at the nails held into place by Home Depot staff members. Personally, I was more afraid for the employees, who willingly sacrificed their fingers, as youngsters swung full-sized hammers at tiny nails. However, after a few successful whacks and constant encouragement from enthusiastic workshop staff, my daughter along with the rest of the kids, were soon smiling, and then cheering their accomplishments.

Home Depot provides all of the materials and tools for the workshops. What’s more, in addition to allowing the kids to take home their finished craft, participants also leave with a free apron, a little commemorative pin and a certificate of achievement. Did I mention that all of this summer fun didn’t cost us a dime?

The next workshop is scheduled for July 7th, so if you are looking for some super cheap summer fun, I would highly recommend rounding up the kids and heading over to your local Home Depot.

If your kids are not into building, then check out Bass Pro Shops free family summer camps. The retailer is offering a slew of interactive programs every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday through July 9th, from 1 to 5 p.m. at store locations nationwide.

Related Articles:

Rainy Day Fun for Kids

Summer Fun for Kids in the Great Outdoors

Super Summer Sanity Savers for Parents

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.