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A tech-savvy spot for kids on the Danforth: come to Little Robot Friends to code and play

The Danforth neighborhood is not only about ethnic restaurants and independent bookstores, but is also about science and education.

Little Robot Friends is a passionate project of a tech-savvy duo, Ann Poochareon and Mark Argo, who have been nurturing it like a child: with huge love and not so huge expectations.  

It all started in 2013 on Kickstarter. Ann and Mark presented three robots: Spikey, Ghosty, and Curvy, which can sense the amount of light in a room, hear with a small integrated microphone, detect your touch, and communicate with other little robot friends using infrared light (like your TV remote). 

Hobbyists and electronic enthusiasts loved them. Ann and Mark raised more than $125,000. They sent robots to children and teachers who ordered them—their child started to grow fast. 

Since then, there have been two other iterations of the robots with more complicated hardware. 

Phuong Diep, an education manager at Little Robot Friends, explains how they function: “Basically with these robots you can program the two outputs—light and sound. And you can make it sing songs, and play games, and do different tricks. Kids really love the music component of it.”

Little electronic creatures are often programmed to play—no surprises!— Star Wars Imperial March or Harry Potter’s theme song.

With an incorporated microphone, a light sensor, three touch sensors on the head and the hands, and accelerometer to detect motion, robots became a really good introduction for kids to learn about the basics of electronic devices that we all use in our everyday life. 

Little Robot Friends has found its home in a bright and open space at 1832 Danforth Ave. and within the last three years, it  has transformed from a place where you can buy a ready-made robots, to an educational centre; they host workshops that teach kids how to program robots, how to create a video game from scratch, and many more learning opportunities.

The creators believe in a complex approach of STEM education; kids are taught not math, or coding, or physics basics, but how to incorporate all of those different components into programming with little robot friends—with fun and art, as well. 

As a little robot creator, a child is not only doing coding, but also designs the whole character and crafts a costume for the robot.

Even though STEM has been a male-dominated industry for decades now, Phuong said that as word about Little Robot Friends has spread across the neighbourhood, more girls are coming to join. The educators are mostly women as well, who are perfect role models for the young ladies interested in science. 

Little Robot Friends welcomes everyone but mainly has classes for children age 7 to 12. However, for electronic-passionate grownups, there are Parent and Kid programs available.

The Little Robot Friends website can be found at

Feature Graphic designed by Kate Orlova (Logo from Little Robot Friends and images from

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