::UPDATE November 1, 2013 – We are very sad to report that Build It Workshops is now CLOSED for business.::
Living in Southern California, we’re very lucky to have an abundance of fun and educational places to take kids. From children’s museums, to parks, to indoor play spaces, there are plenty of options. When I heard about a new place called Build It Workshops, located in Carlsbad, it sounded interesting, so I had to investigate!
What Is Build It!?
Build It, “The Kid Workshop”, is specifically geared towards creative hands-on learning. Their premise is based on using science, technology, engineering, and math, in a fun environment. Instead of leading the kids with building instructions, the employees allow them to use their minds creatively, building however they wish. They are officially listed as a “Makerspace”, where as their website states “is a facility where creativity comes together.”
At the time we visited we paid $12 for the 1st child, $10 for the second for Open Build time. I didn’t pay anything for the baby & I, as non-walkers, plus up to 2 adults per child are admitted for free. Be sure to either call or check their website for current pricing. Also, NO adult is admitted without a child, and NO children may be dropped off and left without a parent or guardian. It is not a child care or daycare center.
Inside you’ll find lots of kid-size tables (think train table style) full of different things wooden planks, castle building blocks, and so much more. I counted 15 tables full of different building pieces, PLUS 5 more just full LEGO! Loads of different options for building, and I’m told that they change it up periodically, and trade out certain pieces for others from time to time.
As well as the tables full of building pieces, general admission also includes building and decorating a cardboard box or similar item. They also offer a “Daily Build”, which is an additional $3-$15, depending upon the item being built. When we visited the Daily Build items were a “Brushbot” and “Scibblebot”, and were reasonably priced as extra items. Our 5 year old son made a “Scribblebot”, which was essentially a little robot with ink markers as legs. Super cool!
As well as the tables full of building pieces you’ll find a long track which the kids can race their LEGO or other vehicles that they put together in the Workshop. Our kids LOVED this, and spent a fair amount of time racing against each other. They even took a video, where they placed my camera on the vehicle and raced it down the track. This was hilarious to them!
Build It is geared toward kids age 3+ to 12 years of age. I can see why the minimum suggested age is at least 3, as some of the building pieces as smaller, and both safer and more appropriate for children of that age. Beware that even though your child may be below age 3, you will still pay an entry fee for them once they walk.
When we arrived, the kids and I were each told the rules prior to entering the building area. No running, no blocks in your mouth, no throwing, no sick kids, clean up after yourselves, etc… I loved that they were so good at showing each of us the rules, which were mounted on the wall at entry. Safety is their top priority, and make they make it clear that they are not a playground.
There are seats available for people to sit in and relax, as well as counter space for using a laptop, tablet, or reading. They offer free WIFi, and have cubbies for you to place personal items. I loved the music they were playing, which included the likes of Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, and Cold Play, and found it to be a very relaxing and comfortable environment. The Workshop was very clean and organized when we visited as well.
Build It is a nut-free facility, and does not allow outside food inside the facility. They are more than happy for you to enjoy outside food just outside the entrance, at one of their tables. They sell some packaged snacks and beverages at reasonable prices, which you may enjoy inside (or out).
If your kids have an interest in LEGO Robotics or Scratch Programming they might be interested in the classes offered at the Workshop. The classes are an additional fee, and are taught over several sessions. They sound both fun and educational!
Build It offer scheduled birthday parties. They do not allow do-it-yourself birthday parties during open build hours. Be sure to call and check if they have any scheduled parties at the time you wish to visit, as they may be closed to accommodate a party.
Junior Builder Club
If you find you love it, Build It you might want to have your child become a Junior Builder Club member. Membership includes free general entry, free Daily Builds, discounts on classes, and other members-only perks. Ask them about it, or check their website for details. (Be sure to ask abut details, as the membership details could change.)
I spoke with Rudy, the owner for quite a long time when we visited. He’s a father of two himself, and was very friendly and good with the kids that I noticed him interacting with while we were there. His employee, Jeremy, was also very good with the kids, and personable as well. Both commute quite a distance to and from the Workshop, and seem to both love and take pride in what they do!
All in all we loved Build It! Our daughter had just as much fun as our son, and I think many of her girl friends would love it as well. I’m sure we’ll be back again, and again. You can find Build It Workshops online at this LINK. Perhaps we’ll see you there!