For some of us, signing up a whole session of a weekly toddler's activity 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 in the East Bay
Rockin' Kids Singalong (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: Friday mornings at 10.30
Where: La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Price: sliding scale from $10-$20.
More details >
Bear Cub Open Gym (Berkeley)
Resuming first week of September 2018! 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: Wednesdays from 11:45am-1:15pm
Where: Golden Bear Rec Center, 25 Sports Lane, Berkeley
More details >
Cost: $5 per child
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:
From June 19-Aug 9
Tues and Thurs 9:30am-11:00am Frances Albrier Auditorium
More details for Summer 2018 >
Storytime at Totland (Berkeley)
Can you hold off naptime until after 1 pm? For ages 0-5, books will be read at the Totland clubhouse. Located in a fun playground.
When: From June 20-Aug 10 at 12:15
Where: Totland Park at Virginia and McGee
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.
When: 9:45-10:45 M-F
Where: Richmond Swim Center, 4300 Cutting Blvd 510-620-6654
Cost: $2 per person
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: Mon-Fri 9 am to 2 pm
Where: Rec Room, 3222 Adeline Street, Berkeley
Price: $10 per child. Babies under 6 months and parents are free. (Siblings $8)
More details >
Junior Center of Art and Science (Oakland)
Located next to Lake Merritt, Junior Center invites drop-in visits. Meet the Animals; access to a small play space daily, best for toddlers under 3. Learn more about Junior Center.
When: 10 to 3 pm on Tues-Sat (Closed Sun/Mon)
Where: 558 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland
Price: $6 from 10 am to 1 pm, animals will come out for close-up viewing; $5 from 1 pm to 3 pm, animals seen only through tank.
Review of a Junior Center visit 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.
When: Weekdays 1 to 5 with exceptions noted on calendar.
Where: 650 Central Ave, Alameda
Price: $6 to enter and play. Babies under 1 are free.
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
Cost: $6 per child
Here's a review from a local dad>
On hiatus from baby and toddler classes (check back soon)
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. MOCHA is moving locations and plans to resume programming in November 2018.
When: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday between 10 am and 1 pm.
Where: 1625 Clay Street, Oakland
Price: $5 per person for children and adults ($10 for an adult/child pair)
More details about visiting MOCHA>
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. Runs November through April. Fall hours start first Thursday in November.
When: 9.30 am to 3 pm, Thurs and Fridays
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.
November through April
*Dates and times exclude the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas up to New Year’s Day.