Review: Home Depot Kids Workshops

Location: Home Depot, 421 Alakawa St, Honolulu.

Time: 9am to 12 noon, first Saturday of the month

My son D and I have sort of made it our “thing” to go to Home Depot Kids Workshops on the first Saturday of each month to build projects together.  Its a great opportunity for D to build his own toys, learn to use basic tools like hammers and paint brushes, and build some patience when things don’t always work out right – like when you bend your third nail in a row trying to nail two pieces of wood together.  We actually started this tradition about a year ago, when we still lived in the Bay Area, so D already has a great collection of hand-built toy race cars, a Penske moving van (yay, product placement!), pencil holders, etc.  This past weekend we made a wooden calendar together, and his little brother DD also built his own calendar!  Thanks mom for helping out too!

The way it works: You arrive and grab a kit from the Home Depot rep, find a comfy moving blanket to work on with tools already set out, and go at it!  There was some gluing of pieces, some hammering of nails, followed by a paint finish.  Lots of colors and kids swinging loaded paint brushes around = a great looking mess.  I’d say both kids did an awesome job.  Can’t wait till next month’s NASCAR-style race car project!  Check out the Home Depot site for more info.  Bottom line: I can’t recommend these workshops enough.  Even if you don’t have time to build it at the store, stop by on your visit and pick up a kit to take home.

As an aside, its an interesting thing to watch someone little work on these types of projects and learn from their mistakes.  Reminds me of the “learning opportunities” I had as a child where I had to mostly watch my dad, grandpa, or uncles (who were all awesome carpenters) show me how to do things correctly without much practice myself.  The practice came much later when I built things myself or with the cousins like the failed ninja zipline project, or the “suicide car” project made from 2 x 4′s and lawn mower wheels (did we forget to install brakes?).  Hmm…maybe there’s a lesson there…In any case, like most parents I often find myself trying to balance the teaching “the right way to do it” while still letting my sons figure it out on their own, which is so much sweeter.  Hopefully, they’ll remember to put brakes in their karts…

Review: Art Explorium in Kaimuki

Last week we visited the Art Explorium  in Kaimuki to hang out with friends and their little ones.  We were looking for a place where the kids could do some crafts and use up some energy and possibly find a restaurant nearby for dinner as well.  Yelp helped us find our way to Art Explorium and the kids had a blast!  The space is clean, bright, and full of materials, media, and dedicated work areas.  We stayed for about an hour and a half till closing and the kids made play-doh animals, built a Duplo castle, worked on two paintings, and made superhero capes and masks from scraps of fabric.  Activities in two of the work areas vary to keep things fresh.  This is a great non-profit organization that helps to bring out the artistic spirit in kids of all ages, even the adults! We’ll definitely be back again!

There are also some great restaurants nearby.  We grabbed burritos at Verde Kaimuki – the So Cal burrito with potatoes and the salad were yummy and the other patrons didn’t mind the screaming, hungry kids.  No bathrooms though, so take a potty break before going.

Yelper Shandis C. breaks down the Explorium details for us in her review:

How it works: $5 per child, for unlimited use of materials, and time (as long as they are open, which is usually for 3 hours at a time, once in the morning and once in the afternoon [check their online calendar to make sure]).

Projects:  There are 3 main tables.  On the day we went, they were 1) Trash to treasure, 2) Building, 3) Collage.  The lady working that morning told us that Trash to Treasure is always available, but the other two tables change from day to day.  You could come every day and have a different project to do, how wonderful!

Parking: There are metered stalls right in front ($0.75 for 1 hour, 1 hour limit) or you can park in the lot on 12th Ave where there is also metered stalls.

Art Explorium, 1142 Koko Head Avenue, Kaimuki, (808) 312-4316 http://artexplorium.org/

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