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Best DIY Toys

  • Tinkersphere

    304 E. 5th St., nr. First Ave.; 646-449-8581

    Kids who drooled over the mind-controlled robot at last year’s Maker Faire in Flushing will find similar delights at Sharon Gershi’s new hobby shop for DIY-ers of all ages, open since July. Twenty-three-year-old Gershi graduated from NYU with a dual degree in computer and electrical engineering; her impressive range of build-your-owns varies from cheap and simple (turn a soda can into a googly-eyed, wheeled robot for $16) to advanced and expensive ($349 gets your teen a Bioloid beginner robot kit that comes with the frames, nuts, bolts, and programming to construct 27 different robots). There are creative no-tech toys, too, like a tiny make-your- own 3D Empire State Building constructed from punch- out steel pieces ($6). Overstuffed shelves and racks make the most of Gershi’s cozy 450-square-foot space. While the shop isn’t big enough for on-site tinkering, Gershi offers an invaluable service to Luddite parents: She’s an expert gift-suggester, and is more than willing to explain what the heck these gadgets actually do.

From the 2014 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine