This month, I kicked off my May blog series called, Yelp! Save me Money! It’s all about how to use Yelp to find places in your area that will help save you money.
Every Monday and Friday this month, I’ll be sharing different money-saving places in my hometown (Tacoma) that I located thanks to Yelp searches. The goal is to illustrate how to find new bargain spots as well as highlighting specific businesses for my locals. You can find previous posts in this series at my Yelp! page.
Today’s feature business is Tinkertopia located on Pacific Avenue (in Tacoma’s Downtown area) and I found it, thanks to this Yelp search:
Here’s something funny about Yelp. You could head off searching for one thing, and what you find ends up totally not what you expected, but nonetheless, delightful. That’s exactly what happened when I stumbled upon Tinkertopia, which curiously calls itself a “creative reuse center.” After reading the description, it sounded just the place to take my daughter for an afternoon.
The way this place works is pretty simple: giving kids (and adults) the opportunity to create something new from recycled materials. Now, this is right up my daughter’s alley as she’s always nabbing empty water bottles, boxes, packaging materials and other items to craft. This place is basically her dream come true!
There are two parts to this store: first, a store so you can buy your materials. They sell them by the bag (with three different size/price options available).
They have just about every item you can think of – from medical supplies (unused!), flooring and carpeting scraps, electronics parts, lab materials, parts of old toys, cardboard, you name it.
The second part of the store is a space you can “tinker” – right there! For $7, you can tinker for up to 90 minutes and use any of the supplies and tools back there. This is the route we took as I thought the price was reasonable (plus, we’d make the mess there and not at home!).
They have lots of tools you can use to make your creations, too, including hot glue guns, sewing machines, hammers, mallets, saws, and even some power tools. (Depending on what your child wants to create, you may need to help, but you won’t be charged to be back there with your child.)
My daughter started by gathering her supplies in this bin. (And yes, anything you find back there you can use – it’s all included in that $7 fee!) She wasted no time gathering fabric, ribbons, bits of plastic stuff, tubes, stickers, plastic gems, and fake flowers.
There are also lots of scissors, paper, tape, markers, glue, paint, clay, and other art supplies to bring your creation to life.
While we were there, there was a boy and his mom working on what appeared to be a school project. GENIUS. Just… GENIUS! I thought back to a project my son had been assigned several months prior – to create his own musical instrument. In a panic, I had spent way too much money at the craft store. How much better (and more fun!) would it have been to spent an afternoon here, experimenting with various wires, tubes, plastic parts, and the tools available to create an instrument (and all for $7?). Keep this place in mind if you get the occasional school project that requires unusual/unique materials (art projects, science fair, plays, dioramas, etc.).
My daughter made one final project before leaving: a flower arrangement in a custom vase for her teacher for teacher’s appreciation week! What do you think?
More things you should know about Tinkertopia:
- You can donate materials to them!
- They are open Tues – Sun, 10am – 6pm
- They offer private parties
PS After Tinkertopia, we walked down to Hello, Cupcake. As it was nearing close time, they were offering “Buy one, get one free” cupcakes. So we each got a cupcake for a grand total of $3! So, $7 Tinkertopia + $3 cupcake treat = $10 night out with my daughter. Now, that’s a deal!