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 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)
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 and Sat 12-1pm
Where: Golden Bear Rec Center, 25 Sports Lane, Berkeley
More details >
Cost: $10 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 Jan 1 to Jun 7, with a few holiday/between session closures
Tues and Thurs 9:30-11 am James Kenney Community Center
MWF 9:30am-11:00am Frances Albrier Auditorium
More details for Winter 2019 >
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: $2.50 per person
Confirm pool is open at Richmond Swim Center website >
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>
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. Note: MOCHA has a new location as of January 12.
When: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday between 10 am and 1 pm.
Where: 1221 Broadway, LL 49 Oakland
Price: $7 per person for children and adults ($14 for an adult/child pair)
More details about visiting MOCHA>