Monday, November 28, 2011

Rolling Robots: Hands-on Fun in Glendale

CC plays at Rolling Robots.
Eager to introduce CC to an unconventional playtime experience, I jumped at the chance to take her to Rolling Robots at the Americana in Glendale. For little gear heads looking to jump start their creative motors, this is a fun place to build, experiment and just play.

And while it's definitely popular with boys, girls can -- and should -- get in on the fun, too.

Owner George Kirkman, who founded the shop with his wife (and fellow aerospace engineer!) Bing Jiang, invited CC and me, plus her tyke friend G and his fam, to see what the shop was all about. Gathering at a long table in the store, which sits on the Brand Boulevard side of the mall, we unpacked complimentary boxes, gears, screwdrivers and other assorted nuts and bolts, and built a couple of robots.

CC, G and his family work on robots.
Kids of (mostly) all ages can find something fun to do at Rolling Robots. While little ones who still need practice with fine motor skills might get a bit frustrated, children who are about 4 or 5 and older will find something to get their little fingers moving.

G chose to build a small robot that could be used for coloring, while CC opted for Robox, a cardboard robot kit that also contains a storybook and stickers. (I think it had her at "stickers.")

CC and Robox
Rolling Robots also offers parties and workshops. In fact, while we were there, we watched as a group of about 15 kids built their own mechanical robots with the help of a few staff members.

Talking to a couple of workshop leaders, I also learned that they offer classes in basic electronics. Kids can build circuit boards, make motors as well as delve into the world of electromagnets(!). Kirkman said that they want to make learning fun -- to show that it's not intimidating or scary.

Older kids can even build complicated machines like the one below.


If parents are looking to just peruse or maybe get a small sample of robot fun, the shop also sports a robot arena (see top photo), where kids can play with remote-control robots in a large, enclosed space. (Prices are based on time spent playing.)

Of course, CC is still smitten with princess toys, but giving her the opportunity to build her own toy, I think, helped her to find fun in the grittier part of playtime.

The Americana at Brand (and on Palos Verdes Peninsula)
757 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
818-241-2308

[Note: While we received a complimentary robot-making session, the views in this post are solely my own.]

1 comment:

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