10+ Drop-in Toddler Activities in the East Bay for $10 or Less - 510 Families
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10+ Drop-in Toddler Activities in the East Bay for $10 or Less

For some of us, signing up for a whole session of toddler activities or classes is overwhelming in terms of both time and money. Drop-in classes are God’s gift to commitment-phobe parents who are still in need of fun ways to spend time with their kiddos. If it seems like it costs at least $20 to just get out the door, we feel you and we accept the challenge.

Here is a whole list of incredible bargain drop-in classes to do with toddlers and preschoolers in the East Bay. Share more of your favorites in the comments!

Drop-in toddler classes & activities in the East Bay

Listed below from the cheapest to the most for a parent-child pairing (all keeping it under our $10 per person maximum), here are some fabulous wallet-friendly drop-in classes and activities we love in the East Bay.

MOCHA Artists in Libraries (Oakland & Berkeley)

Part of the MOCHA in the Library program, MOCHA artists are visiting public library branches in Oakland and Berkeley to present and create art with children in thematic workshops. Workshops take place Monday – Saturday. Learn more >
When: Various weekday afternoons for about an hour
Location: Main and Branch Libraries, Oakland and Berkeley
Price: Free
Website for hours and locations >

Find more free stuff to get and do at the library >

crab cove entrance
The Crab Cove Visitor Center and Aquarium | Photo: Julie Herson

Crab Cove Nature Classes (Alameda)

The incredible Bay coastal visitor center at Crab Cove offers lots of activities for our littlest explorers from fish feeding, storytime, hikes, and creature demonstrations.
When: Various times
Location: Crab Cove Visitor Center and Crown Memorial Beach, 1252 McKay Ave.
Alameda

Price: Free for most, some require pre-registration. There may be a parking fee.
Calendar for upcoming activities >

Tilden Little Farm Classes (Berkeley)

The Little Farm in Tilden Regional Park is great for a drop-in visit but also offers lots of activities for our budding animal-lovers such as meet the rabbits, little farm chores, wooly lambs, and guided hikes for kids.
When: Various times
Location: Tilden Park Nature Center & Little Farm, Berkeley
Price: Free for most, some require pre-registration.
Calendar for upcoming activities >

Tilden Park Little Farm kid feeds cow
Bring a bag of celery for each guest at the Little Farm | Photo: Whitney Moss

Find lots more farms to visit with East Bay kids >

Hikes For Tykes (Various Locations)

Explore the trail with your little one. Naturalists lead short, toddler-friendly hikes at various East Bay regional parks to help develop a love for the outdoors.
When: 10:30 am to 11:45 am on the first and third (and sometimes fifth) Tuesdays of the month
Location: Various East Bay Regional Parks
Price: Free, parking fees may apply depending on location
Find upcoming events >

Ardenwood Historic Farm Classes (Fremont)

Drop into various free activities at this historic working farm: learn to care for animals, complete farm chores, or make crafts from materials grown on the farm.
When: Most weekends, some Thursdays and Fridays
Location: 34600 Ardenwood Blvd, Fremont, CA
Cost: Free with admission ($2-$6 depending on age and time of year; kids under 4 free)
Search activities & calendar >

child running in splash park
An assortment of spray features make for hours of fun at El Cerrito Splash Park | Photo: Julie Herson

El Cerrito Splash Park (El Cerrito)

A fun splash park for children ages 7 or younger. A great way to introduce your child to the water. Open every day for plenty of water fun for little kids. No lifeguard on duty; no access to swimming pool.
When:
9:30 am – 7 pm daily (Spring – Fall)
Where: El Cerrito Swim Center, 7007 Moser Ln, El Cerrito
Cost: Drop-In: $5 per person; 10-Punch Pass: $31 Resident / $39 Non-Resident; Babies under 1 are free.
View website >

Open Swim at Richmond Plunge (Point Richmond)

Splash and play at the huge indoor pool during a special open swim. Choose from Tot Swim for children 6 and under, plus a caregiver. Or Rec Swim for an all ages option. The water is warm and the locker rooms are clean. Recreation hours are a wonderful time to get your child accustomed to the water. Currently, there’s limited capacity so arrive early. One adult is only permitted to watch up to two children.
When: Tot Swim: 11 am to noon Mondays, 10 am to noon Wednesdays and, 9 am to noon Fridays; Open Swim: 1:30 pm to 3;30 pm Saturdays (subject to change; see current schedule)
Location: 1 E. Richmond Ave, Richmond
Price: Adult $7/$8.75 (NR); Child $4/$5 (NR)
View schedule >

Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley)

Visits to BAMPFA are free for those 18 and under and for one accompanying adult (per child). Many of the cool Art Lab projects and family events are currently virtual and free for you to tackle from home.
When: 11 am to 7 pm Wednesday through Sunday; Closed Mon. and Tue.
Location: 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
Price: Free for 18 & under and one accompanying adult per child 13 & under
Website for hours >

MOCHA Open Studio Drop-In Art (Oakland)

Kids as young as 18 months old can make art in the studio at MOCHA in Oakland. Kids are welcome up to age 6.
When: 10 am – 2 pm on certain Saturdays
Where: 1221 Broadway, Lower Level, Suite 49, Oakland
Price: $12 per child, $6 per caregiver (Save $2 with advance registration!), kids under 1 are free.
More details & calendar >

Find free & heavily discounted museum admission days >

art in the library with MOCHA
Toddlers can create and get messy at drop-in art classes | Photos: Maureen Burke

City of Berkeley’s Together Wee Play (Berkeley)

Drop-in open play sessions for ages 1-5. You can find toddler playthings set up for kids and their caregivers at two Berkeley park recreation centers. Choose an indoor option at James Kenney Rec Center or outdoor session at San Pablo Park’s basketball courts. Rain and poor air quality will cancel ourdoor program. Program takes break throughout summer months and December holidays.
When: Tuesday and Thursday mornings 9:30 am to 11 am @ San Pablo Park; Monday and Wednesday mornings 9:30 am to 11 am @ James Kenney Rec Center
Location: San Pablo Park and James Kenney Rec Center in Berkeley
Price: Free
Learn more >

City of Richmond’s Tiny Hero’s Play Sessions (Richmond)

Children ages 5 and younger can enjoy gym equipment, games and puzzles to develop strong, physical and mental skills. Children and their families can socially, interact with one another in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment. Programs are seasonally offered.
When: Monday and Tuesday mornings 10:30 am to noon; Parents can register for specific dates.
Location: Nevin Community Center, 598 Nevin Ave, Richmond, CA 94801
Price: $5 per child, parents free
See schedule >

City of Alameda’s Wee Play (Alameda)

Currently on hold until further notice. Indoor drop-in playtime is offered through the city for children ages 6 months to 3 years. Activities include play, music time, and coloring. Activities are minimally structured which allows children to enjoy and explore on their own terms.
When: 10 am – 1 pm on Mon, Wed, Fri
Location: Veteran’s Memorial Building, 2203 Central Avenue, Room 250
Cost: $6 per child, parents free
Here’s a review from a local dad >

Toddler indoor playtime
Play with all the things | Photo: Maureen Burke

Honorable Mentions (practically $10 each)

SingJam Singalong (Various Locations)

Join an outdoor singalong that’s casual and entertaining for kids and adults. The 60-minute, drop-in jams are best for ages 0-5.
When: Dates shared weekly to email subscribers or published to Facebook
Location: Various parks in East Bay
Price: $18-36 per family
More details >

Rockin’ Jump for Tots (Concord)

Rockin’ Tots’ special jump times are for those 6 and under.
When: Saturday from 8 am to 10 am, Sunday from 9 am to 11 am
Location: Rockin’ Jump Concord, 1631 Challenge Drive, Concord
Price: $15 for the first kid & parent, $3 for each additional child, $12 per parent
More details >

Classes at Randall Museum (San Francisco)

The Randall Museum hosts drop-in science, animal keepers and art classes for families on Saturdays. Classes are best for children 3 or older, with parent participation. There’s no advance registration, just sign up at the front desk when you arrive at the museum. 
When: Saturdays at various times
Location: 199 Museum Way, San Francisco
Price: $10 per adult/child combo and $5 per each additional person for art and science class; animal keepers class is free
More details >

Rockin’ Kids Singalong (Alameda & Berkeley)

Currently on hold. Ex-punk rocker turned mom Stephanie Pepitone plays kid-friendly songs with a little extra noise. It’s a 45-minute musical playgroup. Kids can join her on the stage, stare off into space, or grab one of the instruments or scarves she provides. Best for ages 1-4.
When: 9:30 am on Wednesdays in Oakland & 10:30 am on Sundays in El Cerrito
Location: Addresses provided upon RSVP
Price: $25 per family
More details >

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