New Kid on the Block: Brooklyn Robot Foundry

Brooklyn Robot Foundry Jenny Young“I grew up making stuff in the garage with my dad,” says Jenny Young. “How can city kids make anything when there’s no space?”

That question led to her creating the Brooklyn Robot Foundry in 2011. Young worked as a mechanical engineer, segued into sales, and then ran a software project for the city’s Department of Education. When she quit, she knew she wanted to do something different. She was a member of a machine shop in Gowanus with a gallery space that went unused on weekends, so she began holding workshops teaching kids how to make stuff. After Brooklyn Robot Foundry’s booth at the Maker Faire was wildly popular, Young decided it was time to commit to a dedicated location, between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. And now it has a new outpost in Tribeca, at the corner of Canal and Washington, in what had been Pablo’s Birthday gallery.

Classes at Brooklyn Robot Foundry are for ages 4 to 13 (adult events may happen at some point), and they’re all drop-off only. The way to dip a toe in is with a weekend class, 90 minutes to three hours: “You’ll build a robot, we’ll teach you how it works and moves, and you’ll get to take it home.” If that proves enjoyable, the next step might be joining the after-school program, one afternoon a week for five to eleven weeks. (“We make slightly more complex things each week.”) There are also special sessions for school holidays and, for an hourly rate, open-play opportunities. Come summer, Brooklyn Robot Foundry runs a 12-week summer camp. “It’s Monday to Friday, basically 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and every day we learn a new concept,” says Young. “We’ll spend time outside, too—having lunch across the street in Canal Park, going on field trips, and testing our submarines at the fountain at Capsouto Park.”

The front of the space is a small shop selling robot paraphernalia, books, and educational toys. And naturally, the Brooklyn Robot Foundry is thrilled to host birthday parties.

This Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.: An open house where families can check out the space and participate in activities. There’s info here, and if your child wants to build something that moves, sign up via that page.

Brooklyn Robot Foundry is at 528 Canal (at Washington), 347-762-6840;

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