New Brooklyn Play Space with Babysitting, Free Theater Classes for Kids, Pop-Up Toy Repair, Rubik's Cube & Lego Tables

3/4/14 - By Alina Adams

Last week we updated our roundup of drop-in indoor play spaces in Brooklyn and would you believe one of our readers just told us about a brand-new one? (One of the many reasons we love our in-the-know fans.) Plus, we've got the scoop on FREE theater classes for kids in Harlem, the return of a pop-up repair place that fixes toys, an app that helps you locate Girl Scout Cookies and a new Greenpoint furniture shop where you can finally buy that Rubik's Cube coffee table you never knew you wanted.


Cool new openings (and only one depressing closing) Mommy Poppins reader Kerry turned us on to the recently opened Blueberry Kids in Prospect Heights, which seems to be equal parts children's boutique and play space. In addition to a cute selection of toys and gear, there's a play area for the preschool set with drop-in hours and classes. A monthly membership also gets you access to drop-off care on Friday afternoons and Saturday evenings. Imagine, time to do chores or go on a date!

Nearby Crown Heights also has a new addition: The Stomping Ground, a volunteer parent-run play space where local families can drop in for music, puppet shows, pre- and post-natal yoga and classes. Sliding scale monthly or annual memberships are available and include unlimited use of the equipment (climbing wall, tumbling mats, reading nook and backyard), and discounts on classes. If it sounds a lot like the recently shuttered It Takes a Village that's because the Stomping Ground's founders originally met at that defunct play spot. They were so bummed out when it closed, they decided to start their own . Find out more and contribute to the Stomping Ground's ongoing fundraising efforts on the website.

Get ready for a retro injection: Jellio, a new pop-up shop located inside of Greenpoint kids' consignment store The Flying Squirrel, specializes in furniture and accessories inspired by the things we loved when we were kids like Rubik's Cube and Lego tables, an ice-cream cookie bench and gummy bear lights. Just clicking through the website is sure to put a smile on your face. The only thing that's not old-school are the prices.

Are you ready to rock? The original School of Rock is launching an after-school program in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Children ages 7 to 18 can form their own bands and learn how to play kick-ass shows. (My kids already have a band name, Color in the Dark, and logo ready to go.) Summer camps with weekly themes like Rock 101, Songwriting, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and more are also available–Jack Black not included.

They're back: The mobile Pop-Up Repair shop, which we wrote about last year is hitting a few new neighborhoods including Gowanus in March, and Morningside Heights and Inwood in April. Check the schedule online and then bring over your broken toys, electronics, appliances, knickknacks and even jewelry. As someone who reuses bread bags to pack school lunches, sews up broken umbrellas and tried to fix snow boots with glue (don't do that last one), I am so there!

And finally, we come to our sad closing: After more than seven decades in business, one of our favorite family restaurants in Fort Greene, Junior's, has decided to sell its original Brooklyn location to a condo developer. The owner hopes to return to the spot once the new building is completed and there are other Junior's in NYC, but it won't be the same. Go get a slice of cheesecake with a side of nostalgia on Flatbush Avenue while you still can.

In the works And another new Brooklyn play space... assuming enough funds can be raised. The owners of Park Slope toy store Norman & Jules hope to turn their backyard into a one-of-a-kind outdoor romping spot fashioned from repurposed materials. The design includes a clubhouse, modular seating and undulating running ramps surrounded by greenery, and it would host a variety of public and private events. Contribute to the cause or help spread the word.

Over in Dumbo, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is also raising money for a worthy project: the creation of an indoor environmental education classroom featuring interactive displays, aquariums and touch tanks, all open to the public. If interested you can donate online.

FREE theater classes The City College of New York's Educational Theater Department is offering a FREE Family Arts Saturday Program for children ages 2 to 7. Tots learn about drama, stagecraft, self-expression, movement and more. If you're interested, register ASAP: some of the age groups are already wait list only.

There's an app for that A few NYC public schools are testing out a truancy app that sends a text message to parents as soon as their child fails to show up. During the app's pilot program, attendance rates at one school went up 5%. The developer hopes to install the app throughout the NYC Department of Education. Is it helpful or too Big Brother? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

From kid tracker to cookie locator: Thanks to Kellogg there's now a FREE app for finding a Girl Scout cookie sale near you.

Odds & ends Ever wish you could watch two men living in a giant hamster wheel? Well, now you can. Check out the video of this offbeat art project on Gothamist or go see the guys in action in Williamsburg through March 9.

And finally, venerable classical music program for kids, the Little Orchestra Society, is looking for a new name. From now through March 9, fans are encouraged to suggest potential monikers on the website.

Photo from the Jellio website