Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What are your office hours?


Our summer office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM EST.




When are you open to the public?


For the safety of unvaccinated campers, both our Birmingham and Rochester Hills locations will be open for summer camp ONLY until the fall. Camp hours are from 9 AM to 3 PM Monday-Friday starting Monday July 12th and ending Friday August 27th. Because our camps fill up quickly, you must pre-register at www.therobotgarage.com




Can I shop at your toy store or visit your drop-in room?


You can visit our online store at shop.therobotgarage.com. Our physical stores and drop-in rooms will be closed until the Fall. We appreciate your understanding during this transition back from Covid-19.




Are you booking birthday parties?


We are not yet booking birthday parties but plan for them to begin in the fall, if not sooner. We typically host hundreds of parties a year and can’t wait to re-launch this much loved program. Please follow us on Facebook or join our email list for the latest updates.




Can you donate to our charity auction/event?


We typically donate to hundreds of schools and organizations each year but have had to discontinue that program during the Covid-19 shutdowns. Right now we are focused on reopening to students as soon and safely as possible and will not be accepting donation requests until the fall. At that time, there will be a link on our website to submit an application.




Why are we phasing in our post-Covid reopening vs re-launching everything at once?


Customers often describe The Robot Garage as magical. They show up for a class or a party or a camp, and every detail has been thought of. The facility is clean and well organized, kits are waiting on the table for each child, the staff is well trained dedicated to making sure each child finished each project successfully. The kids are in awe, running to their parents at pick-up time to let them know this is the best day they've ever had and that typically happens day in and day out thousands of times a year. That said, it takes hours behind the scenes to clean and sort materials, interview, hire, and train staff, provide customer service that is second to none. We may be a small family business, but we typically employ 100+ people each year. During the pandemic shut-down, many of our incredible part-time team members have moved away, graduated, or found other jobs. We are in the process of rebuilding our team, but that takes time. We try hard never to disappoint anyone and are focused on a strategic re-opening that will enable us to ensure the same quality of service thousands have come to expect. By rolling out summer camps and then parties, classes, and kids nights, we will be able to do that. We appreciate everyone's understanding and support during this transition and welcome your feedback.




What Covid-19 safety measures are in place?


We are not yet open to the public and plan to open to campers only on Monday, 7/12, for the first day of camp. Because children are not yet vaccinated, we will not be open to the public until the end of August, when summer camp is over. We are closely following CDC updates to do everything reasonably possible to keep people safe. Masks are required inside The Robot Garage, and social distancing guidelines are observed. Facility and material cleaning happen daily. Hand sanitizer is available, but we ask each person to wash their hands as they enter the building. As a family business, our team members are family too and are also responsible for taking care of elderly parents, children, and family members with compromised immune systems, so we have a vested interest in keeping everyone safe. Simply put, we care a lot about each other at The Robot Garage, and that mutual respect extends to our customers as well.





Lego Robotics Subscription Programs

Can I participate in the LEGO robotics subscription program if I don’t live near one of The Robot Garage locations?


Absolutely. This program is designed to bring The Robot Garage to your doorstep. If you subscribe to a LEGO robotics program, a new kit will arrive around the 1st of each month and will contain everything you need to build the three new projects for the month. You will sign into a video portal on our website, and there you will be able to access the hours of video tutorials for the three projects.




Can I keep the LEGO that is shipped to me each month?


Yes! The LEGO is all yours. Most of the LEGO we use is from the more expensive Technic engineering line and designed for building projects that can move. Think Ferris wheels! Kits will focus on Lego Technic gears, axles, pins, lift arms, tires, etc. You may have a lot of LEGO at home already, but this is a great way to start building a LEGO engineering library for your child. Many kids like to pretend their creations can move, but this program is designed to teach them how to make those ideas come to life in a fun way.




Why do I need to purchase a starter kit also? How is that different from the monthly kits?


Our starter kit includes the electronics that will operate all your monthly projects. For Robot Academy ,Jr and Robot Academy, it includes a LEGO WeDo hub, motor, and motion sensor. Once you download the free WeDo software, these tools will turn each build into a robot by connecting the programs you code with the project you build. For Young Engineers, the starter kit includes a battery pack and motor. We are not teaching this youngest group of preschoolers to code just yet, but the battery pack and motor will make all their projects move.




Are the starter kit electronics under warranty?


Monthly subscription boxes are ineligible for return. We have stringent quality control expectations but should you find you are missing a piece, please notify us within 10 days of kit receipt. For the LEGO starter kit, refunds, repairs, and/or replacements are made if we determine an item is defective. It is the customer's responsibility to handle these three electronic pieces carefully. Please contact us at programs@therobotgarage.com if you need to discuss a WeDo quality problem. Return shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer.




Is it just the electronics that come in the starter kit?


In addition to the electronics, the starter kit includes a 16 x 16 LEGO base plate, a LEGO mini-figure, a tray liner to build on, a brick separator, extra pins, and worksheets to help develop a strong engineering vocabulary.




Can I mix the pieces from my starter kit into my other kits or LEGO collection?


We highly recommend you return everything to your starter kit after each build to be there for the next project. This process is a great way to work on responsibility and organizational skills with your child. Help them understand this kit is special and they need to care for these pieces differently than they care for their other LEGO.




Can you tell me more about the video on-demand tutorials?


We’ve been teaching hands-on robotics classes for years, and we’ve developed our unique teaching formula to address the questions that can arise. Once you get your kits, you can log into our video portal to see the videos for the month. We release a video on the 1st, 8th, and 15th of each month so your child can pace themselves. Videos will remain available to you as long as you are a subscriber. If you subscribe to 2 different age levels, both will be available in your family video portal. Each of the three monthly videos will be approximately an hour long, with one of our incredible teachers walking students through each project step by step. Engineering fundamentals, vocabulary, and concepts will be woven into each project, and there will be a bonus game or activity at the end to encourage your child to keep learning and playing after the project is complete.




What if I am missing parts?


We are as careful as we can be pulling your kits, but we admit, we are humans and not robots, so mistakes can happen. There will be a bill of materials in each kit, and you have until the 10th of each month to let us know if you are missing something. We recommend you inventory the parts as soon as they arrive, so we can ship you anything missing in time to do all three projects that month.




What if I already own the WeDo electronics or battery pack and motor in the starter kit?


Please contact us at programs@therobotgarage.com if you’d like to purchase the monthly starter kit without the electronics.




What if kits are sold out?


Please understand that while we have been teaching these robotics programs to students for years, the national subscription program is new. As a small family business coming out of a year-long Covid closure, we do our best to purchase our kits in a fiscally responsible way and still meet demand. We will get better with this each month, but if the month you subscribe is sold out, we will let you know, and your subscription will begin the following month. We apologize for any delays and genuinely appreciate your understanding.




Can I cancel or pause my subscription?


Yes! You can choose between a monthly renewal or a 3-month renewal bundle with a significant discount when you subscribe. If you choose monthly, you can cancel your subscription online by the 15th of the month to discontinue the following month. Auto pay will be billed on the 17th of each month, in order for us to ship by the 20th. If you purchase the three-month bundle, your 3-month subscription will automatically renew on the 17th of your 3rd month. You can cancel that by the 15th of your 3rd month as well. Should you need to pause your subscription, please contact us directly at programs@therobotgarage.com by the 15th of the month. We know kids get busy, and you can pause your subscription once a year.




What if my child prefers live classes to video?


Starting in the fall, subscribers will also have the option to upgrade to Live Zoom classes capped at six students each or register for in-person classes. The videos and monthly kits will be yours regardless of which of these three learning styles works best for your child. If you register for in-person classes, the kits will be given out at The Robot Garage each month and stored on-site, so they are there for each class and not forgotten at home. At the end of the 3rd project, students will take their kits home to keep.




I realize the value of this premium STEM program, but what if I can’t afford it?


Our goal has always been to make engineering and robotics fun and accessible to all students. About 50% of the students we serve in person are from underserved communities. We are not yet able to offer the subscription program at a lower price because the costs are so high (video production, curriculum development, LEGO, electronics, shipping). We are working with organizations that serve these communities to make them available to more students and hope to launch a rent-to-buy starter kit program by the end of the year. You may also want to check out our Scratch video game design subscriptions with no materials that are far more affordable.





General FAQ

What are your office hours?


Our summer office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM EST.




When are you open to the public?


For the safety of unvaccinated campers, both our Birmingham and Rochester Hills locations will be open for summer camp ONLY until the fall. Camp hours are from 9 AM to 3 PM Monday-Friday starting Monday July 12th and ending Friday August 27th. Because our camps fill up quickly, you must pre-register at www.therobotgarage.com




Can I shop at your toy store or visit your drop-in room?


You can visit our online store at shop.therobotgarage.com. Our physical stores and drop-in rooms will be closed until the Fall. We appreciate your understanding during this transition back from Covid-19.




Are you booking birthday parties?


We are not yet booking birthday parties but plan for them to begin in the fall, if not sooner. We typically host hundreds of parties a year and can’t wait to re-launch this much loved program. Please follow us on Facebook or join our email list for the latest updates.




Can you donate to our charity auction/event?


We typically donate to hundreds of schools and organizations each year but have had to discontinue that program during the Covid-19 shutdowns. Right now we are focused on reopening to students as soon and safely as possible and will not be accepting donation requests until the fall. At that time, there will be a link on our website to submit an application.




Why are we phasing in our post-Covid reopening vs re-launching everything at once?


Customers often describe The Robot Garage as magical. They show up for a class or a party or a camp, and every detail has been thought of. The facility is clean and well organized, kits are waiting on the table for each child, the staff is well trained dedicated to making sure each child finished each project successfully. The kids are in awe, running to their parents at pick-up time to let them know this is the best day they've ever had and that typically happens day in and day out thousands of times a year. That said, it takes hours behind the scenes to clean and sort materials, interview, hire, and train staff, provide customer service that is second to none. We may be a small family business, but we typically employ 100+ people each year. During the pandemic shut-down, many of our incredible part-time team members have moved away, graduated, or found other jobs. We are in the process of rebuilding our team, but that takes time. We try hard never to disappoint anyone and are focused on a strategic re-opening that will enable us to ensure the same quality of service thousands have come to expect. By rolling out summer camps and then parties, classes, and kids nights, we will be able to do that. We appreciate everyone's understanding and support during this transition and welcome your feedback.




What Covid-19 safety measures are in place?


We are not yet open to the public and plan to open to campers only on Monday, 7/12, for the first day of camp. Because children are not yet vaccinated, we will not be open to the public until the end of August, when summer camp is over. We are closely following CDC updates to do everything reasonably possible to keep people safe. Masks are required inside The Robot Garage, and social distancing guidelines are observed. Facility and material cleaning happen daily. Hand sanitizer is available, but we ask each person to wash their hands as they enter the building. As a family business, our team members are family too and are also responsible for taking care of elderly parents, children, and family members with compromised immune systems, so we have a vested interest in keeping everyone safe. Simply put, we care a lot about each other at The Robot Garage, and that mutual respect extends to our customers as well.





First Robotics

What is FIRST ROBOTICS?


FIRST Robotics is the largest organized youth robotics program in the world and we are BIG supporters at The Robot Garage. We encourage you to visit their website. They run 5 divisions FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Discover - PreK-1 FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Explore - Grades 2-4 / aligns with our WeDo classes FIRST LEGO LEAGUE Challenge - Grades 4-8 / aligns with our Mindstorms classes FIRST TECH CHALLENGE- Grades 7-12 / aligns with our Tetrix classes FIRST ROBOTICS COMPETITION - High School *Some locations follow slightly different age brackets https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/frc




Does The Robot Garage hire from the FIRST Robotics community?


Daniel Kimura, our VP of education, is something of a legend in the FRC world and began his career mentoring a high-school robotics team that went on to win 2 world championships. While he has been with The Robot Garage for 8 years, his dedication to FIRST has never waivered and he continues to volunteer and work closely with organization leadership. We actively recruit within the FIRST community to help staff our programs and develop curriculum kids will love. The rigor and dedication required to compete in FIRST, is excellent training for The Robot Garage. It’s an organization that emphasizes teamwork and respect as much, as it promotes coding and mechanical engineering skills which fits well into our company culture as well.




Does The Robot Garage have its own FIRST robotics teams?


No. We realized years ago that if we had our own teams, we would be competing with our own students so we made the decision to support ALL robotics teams. We partner with FIRST in Michigan to offer the following programs annually: FLL SeasonKick offs (The Robot Garage hosts these annually to explain the new game and help teams get off to a good start) FLL Studio nights (The Robot Garage team runs weekly workshops during build season to assist mentors and students participating on an FLL team). FTC Studio nights (The Robot Garage team runs weekly workshops during build season to assist mentors and students participating on an FTC team). FRC Rookie Workshops -(FIRST in Michigan began hiring The Robot Garage to train high school rookie teams years ago and we have trained more than 50% of the teams in our home state to date. FIRST Mentor Workshops - (The Robot Garage has been training mentors to train teams for years and began offering our first virtual workshops in 2020 to school districts.




If FIRST Robotics is so great, why do we need The Robot Garage too?


The idea for The Robot Garage actually began when the Jacobs’ oldest daughter got into middle school in 2009 and joined an FLL team. It was life changing for her and she went on to captain a world championship robotics team in high school. (We’re proud to say she graduated from Yale in 2020 with a dual degree in engineering and architecture) As great as the FLL experience was, there were challenges: Many kids did not have access to a FIRST team The FIRST season is only a few months long and participating kids had no place to continue learning and practicing most of the year. The experience was inconsistent from team to team, depending on the mentor and team itself. Sports kids who were interested in engineering, had to choose between sports and robotics schedules as they were both after-school programs. Girls were often the only girl on a team of boys, and often did not feel comfortable in that setting. The Jacobs founded The Robot Garage to bridge these gaps by creating a community space for all kids to learn year-round. Today, we get students from the FIRST community who want to learn more, as well as students who never even considered joining a team but would like to give coding and engineering a try.