For some of us, signing up 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. Here is a whole list of weekday things to do with toddlers and preschoolers in the East Bay.
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 we love in the East Bay.
Bear Cub Open Gym (Berkeley)
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! Pay at the cashier window.
When: 11:45 am – 1:15 pm on Wednesdays & 12 pm – 1 pm on Saturdays
Where: Golden Bear Rec Center, 25 Sports Lane, Berkeley
More details >
Cost: $10 per child, no charge for adults
Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley)
Drop-in to the Art Lab to draw, make a collage, prints, and books.
When: 2 pm – 7 pm on Thu, Fri & 11 am – 7 pm on Sat* & Sun (*second Saturdays 2:30 pm – 7 pm)
Where: 2155 Center Street, Berkeley
Price: Free for adults and children (under 13) who come together
Review of BAMPFA >
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. Space is limited to 10 children (call 510-759-3093 to check availability).
When: 9:3o am – 5 pm Mon-Fri with exceptions noted on the calendar.
Where: 650 Central Ave, Alameda
Price: $6 to enter and play. Babies under one and adults are FREE.
See the website >
City of Alameda's 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: 10 am – 1 pm on Mon, Wed, Fri
Where: Veteran's Memorial Building, 2203 Central Avenue, Room 250 *Please note due to elevator renovations/repairs, the Wee Play is moved to Woodstock Recreation Center (351 Cypress St) starting Jan 29th until further notice.
Cost: $6 per child
Here's a review from a local dad>
City of Berkeley's Wee Play (Berkeley)
Drop-in indoor 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.
When and Where: (Jan 6-Jun 5, 2020)
9:30 am – 11 am on Mon, Wed, Fri at Frances Albrier Auditorium
9:30 am – 11 am on Tue, Thu at James Kenney Community Center
More details for Winter/Spring 2020 >
Richmond Tot Splash (Richmond)
A clean, indoor pool with a shallow entry area for toddlers hosts an hour of wet fun for little kids on weekdays.
9:45 am – 10:45 am on Tue-Fri & Sun at Richmond Swim Center
10 am – 11 am on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun at Richmond Plunge
Where: Richmond Swim Center, 4300 Cutting Blvd 510-620-6654 & 1 E. Richmond Ave. 510-620-6820
Cost: $2.50 per person (cash only)
Confirm pool is open at Richmond Swim Center website >
The Rec Room (South Berkeley)
Daily play space and cafe for parents and children. Includes daily craft, storytimes, yoga, and more. Drop-in and play.
When: 9 am – 2 pm Mon-Fri
Where: The Rec Room, 3222 Adeline Street, Berkeley
Price: $10 per child. Babies under 6 months and parents are free. (Siblings $8)
More details >
Rockin' Kids Singalong (Alameda & Berkeley)
Ex-punk rocker turned mom Stephanie Pepitone plays kid-friendly songs with a little extra noise. It's a 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: 10:30 am on Tuesdays in Alameda & Fridays in Berkeley
Where: Halau Makana, 1122 Lincoln Ave, Alameda & La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Price: sliding scale from $10-$20 per family.
More details >
Kindergym with Dawn (Oakland)
Local toddler guru, Dawn Margolin, sets up a toddler wonderland in an event room at Temple Beth Abraham. Diverse families are welcome. Best for ages 1-3.
When: Wednesday and Thursday, 11:15 to 12. (Don't be late: this is a 45-minute session)
Where: Temple Beth Abraham, 327 Macarthur Blvd. Oakland.
Price: $10 per family, cash and checks only payable to Temple Beth Abraham. Note that other sessions of play at this venue are priced differently.
More details >
Kids Gym Berkeley (Berkeley)
Have fun in at 10,000-square-foot indoor gym equipped with swings, trampolines, zip line, rock climbing and tons of toys to play with.
When: 9 am – 6 pm on weekdays, 9 am – 5 pm on weekends
Where: 2920 Seventh Street
Price: General admission is $15/child but if you buy a 10-pass for $100, it works out to $10/child. Adults are free.
Review of Kids Gym Berkeley >
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: 10 am – 1 pm on Wed, Thu, Fri & Sat
Where: 1221 Broadway, Lower Level, Suite 49
Price: $8 per person (adults & children), kids under 1 are free
Review of MOCHA's drop-in art>
More details about visiting MOCHA>