For some of us, signing up a whole session of weekly child’s activity is overwhelming in terms of both time and money. Drop-in activities are God’s gift to commitment-phobe parents who are still in need of fun ways to spend time with their kiddos. Here is a whole list of weekday things to do with toddlers and preschoolers in the East Bay.
Bladium Fun Zone (Alameda)
Drop-in Fun Zone hours, for kids 18 months to 8 years old. Drop in at this expansive indoor soccer field and gym. Parents can use their free wi-fi while kids play on bouncy things and run around on the turf fields.
When: 9 am to 3 pm, Weds, Thurs, and Fri
Where: 800 W Tower Ave, Alameda
Price: $9 for non-members; $7.50 for those currently enrolled in a sports class; $6 for club members.
More details >
Rockin’ Kids Singalong (Berkeley)
Ex-punk rocker turned mom Stephanie Pepitone plays kid-friendly songs with a little extra noise. 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: Friday mornings at 10.30
Where: La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Price: sliding scale frm $10-$20.
More details >
City of Berkeley’s Wee Play
Drop-in indoor open play sessions for ages 1-4. You can find toddler playthings set up for kids and their caregivers at two Berkeley park recreation centers.
When and Where:
Jan 4-Mar 11 MWF 9:30am-11:00am Frances Albrier Auditorium
Jan 5-Mar 10 TuTh 9:30am-11:00am James Kenney Gym
Mar 28-Jun 3 MWF 9:30am-11:00am Frances Albrier Auditorium
Mar 29-Jun 2 TuTh 9:30am-11:00am James Kenney Gym
Note: No sessions on city holidays such as President’s Weekend.
Rec Room (South Berkeley)
Daily play space and cafe for parents and children. Includes daily craft, storytimes, yoga, meet-ups, homework help & clubs.
When: Mon-Thurs 9:30 am to 5 pm; Fri-Sun 9:30 am to 1 pm
Where: Rec Room, 3222 Adeline Street, Berkeley
Price: $10 per child. Babies under 1 and parents are Free.
More details >
Swimming at AquaTech (Alameda)
Drop-in swimming for parents and children is welcome at this beautiful indoor 90-degree swimming pool. AquaRec (family swim) hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10-2. For rookie parents who want to get in the pool with their baby under 2 years old, you are welcome at AquaRec, but note that the same timeslot on Mondays and Fridays is called AquaBaby and offers a calm, big-kid-free swim opportunity.
When: 10 to 2 Weekdays
Where: AquaTech Pool, 2203 Mariner Square Loop, Alameda
Price: $5 per baby and $5 per parent for AquaBaby times; $10 per kid and $5 per parent for AquaRec
See the AquaTech website >
MOCHA 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: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 10 am and 1 pm.
Where: 1625 Clay Street, Oakland
Price: $7 per child.
Junior Center of Art and Science (Oakland)
Located next to Lake Merritt, Junior Center offers drop-in activities for kids 2+. Meet the Animals; access to a play space daily.
When: 10 to 11.30 am on Tuesdays-Fridays
Where: 558 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland
Price: FREE for Meet the Animals, $2 for play space
Review from 510 Families >
Blue Moon Learning Center (Alameda)
This is a small indoor play area for toddlers in Alameda Session-based language and music classes are offered in a classroom there, and every Friday, a craft session for 2- to 5-year olds is open for drop-ins.
When: Weekdays 9:30 to 5 with exceptions noted on calendar.
Where: 650 Central Ave, Alameda
Price: $5 to enter and play; Craft sessions $7 per child.
See the website >
City of Alameda Wee Play (Alameda)
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: M, W, F 10 am to 1 pm
Where: Alameda Veteran’s Memorial Building, 2203 Central Avenue
Here’s a review from a local dad>
Bear Cub Open Gym (Berkeley)
SEASONAL: CLOSED DURING SUMMER CAMP MONTHS
Kids ages 1-5 may play in the gymnastics center during this time slot. Bring a snack to take a break, and then play some more!
When: Wednesdays from 11:30am-1:30pm and Fridays from 10:00am-12:00pm
Where: Golden Bear Rec Center, 25 Sports Lane, Berkeley
More details >
Cost: $10 per child