Best Things to Do in January With Kids - 510 Families

Best Things to Do in January With Kids

Wondering what to do with East Bay kids in the new year? Wonder no more! Here’s a guide to family-friendly activities happening throughout the month, with an emphasis on what’s free and cheap. Here’s to more family memories in 2024!

We appreciate CuriOdyssey for sponsoring our January list of great activities for families. Visit IlluminOdyssey, an immersive light installation that will mesmerize kids of all ages, at CuriOdyssey in San Mateo through January 28.

illuminodyssey light displays indoors
Escape the cold and rain and fill your winter with wonder at IlluminOdyssey’s four-level glowing forest of science through Jan. 28! | Photo: CuriOdyssey

Be Dazzled by Lights at CuriOdyssey

The holidays may be over but the magic of light continues. Fill your winter with wonder at IllumniOdyssey, an indoor, immersive, interactive installation that’s inspired by the science of light. Light your way through a maze of luminous botanical geometry, play with rainbow refraction and swirling projections, paint with light on phosphorescent surfaces, and dance with your shadow. This exhibit is hosted at CuriOdyssey through January 28.

Optical Mosaic made from light at Illuminodyssey at Curiodyssey
Optical Mosaic made from light at IlluminOdyssey | Photo: CuriOdyssey

For outdoor illumination, we’re also big fans of Entwined, a nature-inspired light display set in Peacock’s Meadow in Golden Gate Park. This installation is free and will be up through April. Glowfari is lighting up the Oakland Zoo through January 28.

Save the Date for These Exciting Community Events

Mixed Age Outings For Cousins, Siblings, & Family Friends

Whether you have a house full of kids or a planning an outing with another family, these destinations will give you a leg-up on planning a day with a mixed-age group. Glide and twirl at a local ice skating rink in the East Bay or San Francisco. Go Bowling at Bowlero in Alameda, which has the option for bumper bowling and an onsite arcade. Sink a hole-in-one on a mini golf course at one of these East Bay putt-putt locations (inside or outside). Hike the labyrinths at Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. Our mixed-age mama Julie rated her top East Bay playgrounds for free play. In search of a day trip? Tide pooling at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach is fun for all, especially with the dramatic tide changes this month.

Child pulling red sled through the snow
Sledding | Photo: Maureen Burke

Where to Have a Snow Day

Winter is here! Built a snowman, take a ski lesson, make a snow angel, or have a snowball fight. We rounded up several places that aren’t too far from the East Bay for families in search of a snow day. Looking to take things up a notch? See our top picks for sledding and tubing destinations, plus family-friendly mountains for skiing or snowboarding (Sugar Bowl Ski Resort is my family’s fave). We’re sharing our trips to make the drive to Lake Tahoe a little easier to navigate with some kid- and parent-approved stops along the way.

Reserve Tickets to Shows & Performances

There are so many fun characters and groups coming to the Bay Area this month. Don’t miss Bluey, the Harlem Globetrotters, or Monster Jam. Plan and reserve tickets now for future shows like Disney on Ice and Road to Wrestlemania in February or Wild Kratts Live in March. See our full list of upcoming shows and performances for families >

kids on a light board at CuriOdyssey
Spark your imagination at the IlluminOdyssey light board | Photo: CuriOdyssey

Reserve a Spot at Kids’ Night Out

We love family time, but winter break can be long for some kids and parents. That’s where Kids’ Night Out/Parents’ Night Out (aka PNO) comes in. This evening childcare is dressed up as a drop-off kid party at a local children-centric venue. Children usually eat pizza, have dessert (gasp!), watch movies, and play with other kids of a similar age until way past their bedtime. Parents can have a little date night. The formula varies depending on which organization is playing host, but overall it’s a win-win setup.

Favorite Free & Cheap Happenings

Need some planning inspiration? We’ve got you covered! We gathered up our favorite free and inexpensive activities in the East Bay to serve as a go-to, weekday itinerary when you’re in a pinch. Find more free & cheap events this month >

Mondays – Drop into a free playtime: Wee Play in Alameda
Tuesdays – Join Hikes for Tykes (Jan. 2, 16 & 30)
Wednesdays – See farm animals at Tilden Little Farm
Thursdays – Jam out at a Musical Storytime in Berkeley
Fridays – Stroll through Blake Garden in Kensington
Saturdays – Creature Feature: Animal Meet & Greet at Tilden Nature Center
Sundays – Create at the BAMPFA Art Lab

Plus, plan an outing to one of the world-class museums in the Bay Area; take advantage of free admission on certain days. Learn more about ways to get into museums for free >

Jan. 1 and 9: San Francisco Botanical Garden
Jan. 2: de Young Museum in San Francisco and Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco
Jan. 4: BAMPFA in Berkeley & SFMOMA in San Francisco
Jan. 5: Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
Jan. 6-7: Bank of America Free Museum Days
Jan. 7: Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and First Sunday at OMCA (nearly free!)
Jan. 13: Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco
Jan. 14: SFMOMA “Free Family Days”

s p o n s o r

illuminodyssey kid with a latern at an art light show indoors
IlluminOdyssey photo provided by CuriOdyssey

This helpful guide to January activities was sponsored by CuriOdyssey, a San Mateo destination for STEM-loving families. CuriOdyssey’s hands-on approach to science education influences every facet of this exhibition. IlluminOdyssey’s interactive glowing exhibits will be on display through January 28, don’t miss out.

Get the {510} Families weekend planner in your inbox. It's free!

* indicates required

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

We've got your instructions for family fun right here!
Sign up today and get a list of kid-friendly activities for East Bay parents every Friday.
Stay Updated
You can unsubscribe anytime.
Scroll to Top