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Beyond Build-a-Bear

For your kid’s every DIY interest, there’s a hands-on workshop.

Illustration by Rami Niemi   
  • Aspiring Authors:

  • Scribble Press

    1624 First Ave., nr. 85th St.; 212-288-2928

    After shuttering its Upper West Side and L.A. branches last year, this make-your-own-book studio significantly expanded its flagship space and programming. Children 4 and older can drop in to write and illustrate their own tomes, which are then professionally bound, or design calendars, journals, and puzzles. Most projects are in the $10 to $29 range.

  • Budding Fashionistas:

  • Hiho Batik

    184 Fifth Ave., nr. Sackett St., Park Slope; 718-622-4446

    An ancient art form gets a modern revival as kids 5 and up use hot wax and colorful paints to create one-of-a-kind batik designs on T-shirts, tote bags, and more (from $40). The process is fairly easy, but since the staff must handle the final dyeing step, items aren’t ready for pickup for about a week. Drop-ins are welcome as long as the studio isn’t hosting a party, so call ahead on the weekends.

  • Tiny Tinkerers:

  • Construction Kids

    Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., nr. Adelphi St., Building 92, Unit 130, Ft. Greene; 718-522-2902

    The former Lefferts Garden program has relocated to a new state-of-the-art studio in the Navy Yard, where kids 2 to 14 can craft wooden skateboards, go-carts, and toy cars and trains. After-school programs (from $375 per semester) and day camps ($125 per day) demand a long-term commitment, but Curious Georges can test the waters at open houses ($35).

  • Android Makers:

  • Brooklyn Robot Foundry

    303 Third Ave., nr. Carroll St., Gowanus; 347-762-6840

    At educational technology expert Dave VanEsselstyn and mechanical engineer Jenny Young’s DIY workshop, children ages 4 to 13 learn simple circuitry while building their own moving, blinking creations out of old tin cans and boxes. Weekly 90-minute drop-off classes start at $40; after-school programs, day camps, and a Robot Girls’ Club are also available.

  • Designers-to-Be:

  • Maker Space

    New York Hall of Science, 47-01 111th St., Corona; 718-699-0005

    Inspired by the Hall of Science’s annual Maker Faire, this space is outfitted with a range of high- and low-tech tools, like 3-D printers and handsaws. Weekend workshops target inventors as young as 18 months and cost $8 (plus $8 museum admission); more involved programs—like a build-your-own-skateboard spring-break camp ($350)—are steeper.

From the 2013 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine

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Other Best Of Guides

So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).