Best Art Studio, March 2006

Sometimes you just don’t feel like covering the dining room table with newspaper yet again so that your budding artist can create a masterpiece. That’s why we’re smitten with Tinker, an arts-and-crafts studio in the Valley. You and your kidlet can drop in any time—you don’t have to sign up for a class—and for five bucks an hour, she or he can go to town with all manner of beads, buttons, feathers, felt letters, fabric, and sequins from the free “collage cart.” There are also dozens of objects they can personalize: birdhouses, hand puppets, T-shirts. Naturally, these things increase the tab, but consider the potential savings: You have a fresh supply of gifts for relatives.