This is our guide to places to take East Bay preschoolers. These are fun activities for toddlers focused on the amazing indoor spaces and places in the East Bay, because some days are rainy. Right?
Indoor places to go with toddlers in the East Bay
- Paint pottery at Color Me Mine, Alameda or Brushstrokes in Berkeley. Make a huge hot chocolate mug or four small mismatched snack plates signed by the artiste!
- Learn about wildlife at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek.
- Rock out at Rockin’ Kids Singalong at La Pena. On Friday mornings at 10:30am. Best for ages 1-4. Sliding scale $15-$20 per family.
- Make art! Kids as young as 18 months old can make art in the studio at MOCHA Open Studio in Oakland Wednesday through Friday between 10am and 1pm.
- Check out the library. Bring a huge tote bag and check out the maximum number of books and DVDs from the library. It is usually storytime somewhere!
- Bounce to the ceiling (not really!) at one of the Bay Area’s trampoline parks. Look for one with a little kid trampoline or special hours for small people. BYO grippy socks and check for coupons first.
Fly through the air on the ziplines and life-size hammocks at Kids Gym Berkeley. Tackle the activity tables in the play room. Try on costumes in the imaginative play area. Experiment at the Hands-On STEAM lab in Berkeley. Morning and afternoon sessions for 3 to 6-year olds will be the regular daily routine, find specifics on their website Beat the blahs at Habitot Children’s Museum in Berkeley where the fun is always educational.
- Dip in the water at Aquatech swim center in Alameda. Open swim hours for ages 0-2 are called Aquababy. Aquarec time is for kids of all ages.
- Tumble, flip, and use gymnastics equipment. Open Gym is a toddler parents’ best friend. Bear Cubs Open Gym at Cal Golden Bear Gymnastics in Berkeley is for kids ages 1-5 and runs Wednesdays from 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. when summer camp is not in session.
- Drop in for playtime at Twirl Alameda, where kids can make art, swing, or climb.
Drink your coffee with a side order of play and kid-friendly classes at Rec Room Cafe near Ashby BART.
- Blast off to Chabot Space & Science Center where they have a fun new Discovery Lab: a light-filled, open space for kids under 5 to do their thing.
- Jump, Jiggle & Roll: Kinder Gym Drop-in at the Albany Community Center. Children can jump, crawl, run, move and groove for one and a half hours of free play.
- Have fun with small animals daily at Sulphur Creek Nature Center (Careful, they have a guinea pig lending library!)
- Upcycle and invent at Sticky Art Lab in Berkeley.
- More fun with creatures at Critter Corner at Lawrence Hall of Science. Meet small mammals, reptiles, and arthropods and explore how these animals move, feel, and eat.
- Pop into playtime at Pump It Up in Oakland. Open Jump is Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays between 3 pm and 5 pm, kids age 2 and up can come jump and play freely on the equipment. Under one is free with paying friend. Check the schedule. Must be 34″ to jump.
- Splash in the toddler zone at the Richmond Swim Center, where hours for 0-5 year olds start at 9:45 am most mornings.
- Play on the floor at Alameda’s Wee Play (offered through the city for children under 4) M/W/F from 10am to 1pm for only $6. Check website for updated location. Here’s a review from a local dad.
Bowl 10 frames. Albany Bowl has ramps for preschool children to place in front of the lane so that their ball can get enough momentum to reach the pins. Ask for a ramp at the front desk if you are bowling with a child under 5.(CLOSED PERMANENTLY DEC. 2020)
- Drop in at Berkeley’s Wee Play sessions for ages 1-4. Held at Frances Albrier Auditorium Monday/Wednesday/Friday and James Kenney Gym Tuesday/Thursday; sessions run from 9:30 am to 11 am for FREE.
- Slide into ball pits. Visit Adventure Kinderland in Richmond with your preschool-aged best buddy.
- Enjoy a kindie rock show at Ashkenaz or Starry Plough. Check our events calendar for current shows where you can shake your maracas!