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Kid Tech Toy Shop

Making Science Fun For Kids

New shops and restaurants have been popping up on the 22nd Street corridor in the Mission district between Dolores and Mission over the last year. But until now, there hasn’t been much for kids. That was, until the new toy store Kid Tech moved into the neighborhood a few months ago on 22nd between Dolores and Valencia Streets.

For those of you who don’t want to bow down to the empire of Mickey, or would just like something a little different for your kids, Kid Tech is definitely worth a visit. Not only meeting the need for a kid-friendly store on the block, Kid Tech also fills the hole of available places where you can find educational toys in the city, most recently left open by the departure of stores such as the Discovery Channel’s toy store. With great interactive kid-friendly museums like the Exploratorium and Zeum, it’s strange that we don’t have more.

Kid Tech is the synthesis of owner Robert Alvarenga’s life long interest in science and experience in the toy industry. As Robert’s wife and store buyer, Irene Alvarenga, told me, he is a self-professed science-buff who’s been known to pick and read a physics book just for fun. While working in the accounting department of a major toy manufacturer, he got to know the ins and outs of the business.

First off, the paintings decorating the walls of Kid Tech, designed by Irene’s brother, are worth a look on their own. The west wall is covered with a giant teddy bear and baby doll. The scene on the opposite side depicts a gray alien-like create with multiple eyes springing out from it head. The creatures command over a carpeted play area at the front of the store. Should your kids get bored and be in need of amusement while you are shopping (though I’m not sure how that would happen in Kid Tech), they can build a castle with big soft blocks or piece together a puzzle.

The toys are conveniently arranged into age-appropriate sections, starting with non-toxic toys perfect for a child’s early years. These include Build-a-Bots from International Playthings, made of easy to pop together and pull apart pieces ($15), a squeaking and squawking wiggly giggly ball ($16) and Linkey Monkeys that a you can chain together ($16). For toddlers, there’s a selection of wooden toys for learning the basics, like a lacing shoe ($12), a shape sorting clock that teaches time ($13), and a “basket” of the four basic food groups ($20).

For the kids in the middle, choices include a box of 10 science illusions for your budding magicians ($18) or for the environmentally conscience kid, there’s the Eco Dome with which he or she can create their own self-sufficient and sustainable world ($50). For those who prefer to piece things together, there are the 4D egg puzzles of insects ($5), reptiles ($5), and dinosaurs ($5). If they’d like to take advantage of our windy weather and fly a kite, there are stunt flyers ($15). You can find fun science kits from Scientific Explorer for any interest, such as ones with which you can create spa items like body scrubs ($22), a soda pop kit ($22) and the ultimate gum kit ($32).

For older kids, there is a wide selection of model planes, like the build by number Piper Super Cub ($11), rubber band powered prop planes ($26), and a USAF Horner that can be flown by hand or catapult ($11).

If your kids have a little pocket change from their own allowance, there are bins of spaceships and spacemen that they can easily afford ($2 each).

In the future, Kid Tech plans to do more community-based projects, though the details are still be ironed out. Just a few weeks ago, Kid Tech made a trip to the Alvarado Elementary School Carnival in Noe Valley, where they conducted fun science projects for the kids, showing them how to make slime and “elephant toothpaste.”

Though Kid Tech’s toys are meant to encourage a child's curiosity, discovery, and creativity, it’s quite possible that they can inspire you and you could find yourself playing with the toys on your own. I know I wanted to.

Be prepared to bring your paper money because they only take cash now. They should be accepting credit cards soon. And if you’re a pre-school teacher, bring your I.D. so you can get a 10% discount.

Kid Tech Toy Shop
3340 22nd Street
Cross: San Jose Ave
Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11am - 7pm
Wednesday: 11am - 7pm
Thursday: 11am - 7pm
Friday: 11am - 7pm
Saturday: 11am - 7pm