Things to do with Bay Area kids when school is out

50 Things to Do With Bay Area Kids When School Is Out

Thanks to KidzToPros Holiday Camps for sponsoring this post (and providing photos). 

With so many school holidays on the horizon, we wanted to update our list of go-to destinations for families with grade school children. Enjoy!

50 things to do with kids when school is closed with a child playing tennis, one programming, another doing art

What to do with East bay kids when school is out?

  1. Day Camp at KidzToPros. KidzToPros hosts holiday and school break camps at lots of Bay Area locations including Emeryville, Fremont, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco. From LEGO & Wonder Robotics to coding, Minecraft, and Roblox game design to art skills, graphic design, sports, KidzToPros takes fun and enrichment to the next level. Use code 510-HC50 to save $50 on your registration.
  2. Fly a kite. Fly kites in Berkeley Marina or one of our other favorite spots, perfect on a day when most places are closed, like Thanksgiving Day.
  3. Get beachy. Our beautiful West Coast beckons with these 14 Bay Area beaches worth the drive. Head out early and bribe your kids with donuts as needed.
  4. Farm day. Pick seasonal produce and visit the animals at Cloverfield Organic Farm. Eat what you pick once you get home. More farms for kids who love animals >
  5. Hike. Hop on the ferry to hike Angel Island. Too far? Discover the Secret Stairs of the East Bay in Oakland or grab a walking stick to hike the UC Berkeley fire trails.
  6. Go bowling. Bowl ten frames at Bowlero Alameda or get a good deal at any one of these nearby bowling alleys.
  7. Stargaze. Stay up late to see all the stars. Our tips tell you how to get away from the Bay Area light pollution.
  8. Build ninja skills. Check out the massive indoor-outdoor facilities for Ninja Warrior wannabes at Traverse Fitness.
  9. Outdoor art installation. The Andy Goldsworthy installation of trees and forest paths in the Presidio is totally worth the trip.
  10. Ice Skate. From San Francisco to San Ramon with frozen spots in between, there are wonderful seasonal ice rinks to enjoy. Lace-up.
Kids watching the Bay go by on the SF Ferry
Kids watching the Bay go by on the SF Ferry | Photo provided by SF Ferry
  1. Ferry around. Take the ferry to SF (from Jack London Square, Alameda, or Richmond) for a treat at the Ferry Building. Brave families can ride a streetcar, cable car, city bus, and BART all on the same day.
  2. Kayak around the Bay. Put on your life vests and kayak around our waterways. Where to kayak with kids >>
  3. Volunteer with animals. East Bay SPCA Shelter Scouts allows youth ages 8-18 to explore the world of animal welfare through service learning projects, educational activities, and animal meet-and-greets. Learn about volunteering with shelter scouts.
  4. Play pinball. Go full tilt on the old-school pinball machines at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda.
  5. Ride the rails. Head down to Santa Cruz for the railroad through the redwoods!
  6. Ropes Course. Take a trip to Quarry Park for big fun on the zipline, rappel, free fall, ropes course, and a massive playground .
  7. Roses and Ice cream. Visit the Oakland Rose Garden. After your ambling, you’re a 15-minute walk to Fentons.
  8. Asian Arts. Visit the Asian Art Museum where kids under twelve are always free. The new exhibit, teamLab, looks incredible.
  9. Minigolf. GoldenTee is a fun destination for putt-putt enthusiasts. Scandia has mini-golf plus so much more. We *heart* Stagecoach Greens if you want a City trip.
Stagecoach stadium putt putt
Stadium replica golf hole at Stagecoach Greens called Splash Hit | Photo: Heather Flett
  1. Discover a playground. (510) residents swear that Heather Farm is always worth the drive to Walnut Creek! Here are nine playgrounds with zip lines for your kid with big energy.
  2. SUP. Stand-up Paddleboarding is another super way to enjoy our corner of the world. It’s like an instant vacation.
  3. Big Ship. Spend the day in Alameda and tour the enormous USS Hornet aircraft carrier museum – great for visiting grandparents.
  4. Scoot and roll. Not ready for a skate park quite yet? Here are 22 fab places to roll your scooter.
  5. Treasure Island. This island has everything: biking, food, giant Jenga, a small beach, playground, and the best views in the Bay Area. Or this playground with a view.
  6. Things that go. Poke around historic planes at the Oakland Aviation Museum, open Wednesday thru Sunday, this kid-friendly museum is located near the Oakland airport.
  7. Experiment. Visit the Lawrence Hall of Science (Wednesday through Sunday) to try your hand at science experiments and engineering challenges.
  8. See lots of animals. Hang out with the wild animals at the Oakland Zoo and enjoy the gondola as often as you like (reservations strongly suggested). Older kids can play photographer and then come home and make a video. (We’ll post any kid-generated videos here!)

More About KidzToPros Holiday Camps

Children in grades PreK to 8 can spend the day doing some of their favorite things during school breaks. Use code 510-HC50 to save $50 on your registration. Limited spots – register now!

  • Thanksgiving Break Holiday Camp – 3-days of KidzToPros’ most popular STEAM and sports activities that will inspire kids’ creativity and keep them active and learning.
  • Winter Break Holiday Camps – kids can get a jump start on the new year at a 4-day STEAM and sports camp offered both before and after the Christmas holiday.
  • Presidents’ Week Camp & Spring Break Camp, too. KidzToPros offers multiple weeks of fun activities with a variety of themes to keep kids engaged and support working parents.
child plays basketball, child codes a gadget, child does art
Photo collage of holiday camps by KidzToPros
  1. Wilderness. Look for wild turkeys, magpies, and owl boxes at the Sunol Regional Wilderness. There’s always something different.
  2. Cuddle kitties. Make a donation to care for cats and sit with them as you share a cookie at Cat Town (check hours!)
  3. Geocache. This worldwide scavenger hunt is always open! More details on our love of geocaching.
  4. Go fishing. Grab your fishing rod and head to one of our favorite fishing spots for families.
  5. Fourth Street. Spend the day wandering around 4th Street with ice cream and crafts. Peek in at the reptiles at the East Bay Vivarium and then walk over to Peet’s for hot cocoa.
  6. Bake. From scratch, from a kit, or from a together cooking class or workshop, we love to make a tasty mess in the kitchen.
  7. Painting Party. Paint pottery at Color Me Mine, Alameda or Brushstrokes in Berkeley.
  8. Collect sea glass. Hunt for sea glass at Point Molate Park Beach. You can make crafts from them afterward.
  9. Bike the dirt. For knobby tires, visit Dirt World in Richmond or loop the pump track at the BMX dirt bike park in Pleasanton. For a whole day of thrills, head to Marin and ride Stafford Lake Bike Park.
  10. Bike the paths. Or stick to paved trails by riding along the Shoreline in Alameda, or enjoy the Bay Trail bike path near Costco in Richmond (head towards the gas station end of Costco and look for a parking lot). Lots more places to bike with kids in the East Bay.
  11. Go-kart. Go full speed around the race track with go-karting for the big kids in the family.
kid sledding in the snow
Sledding and all smiles | Photo: Mike Heenan
  1. Brr in the snow. Spend a day playing in the snow (when it comes, of course); we know where to take Bay Area kids to get snowy for non-skiers.
  2. Drive-in Movies. Let everyone stay up late for a drive-in movie. I LOVE the wintertime for the drive-in because the shows start so much earlier… and when there’s no school the next day? C’mon!
  3. Climb & Scramble. Scale the heights around Indian Rock in North Berkeley or check out one of Berkeley’s lesser-known rock parks. Always free and open!
  4. Lake day. Bring a football to Lake Temescal. It is great for wandering, relaxing, and fishing, even if swimming is still off-limits.
  5. Golf. Would your kids like one of these low-key par-three courses in the East Bay? If golf is too chill, they might enjoy FootGolf for a change.
  6. Play all the games. The board game destination, Victory Point Cafe, has hundreds of games and a great menu for pizza fans.
  7. LEGOLAND but smaller. Visit Milpitas’ LEGOLAND Discovery Center and have the best day building, riding, and ogling creations. Tests of skill and agility will entertain parents, too.
  8. Play in the rain. No need to stay indoors on a rainy day when you can hunt for salamanders and splash in the puddles! 5 more great spots to play in the rain with kids >
  9. Hunt for small gnomes in Oakland. Paint a few gnomes with your kiddo and get in on the act.
  10. Play tennis. The local tennis courts are open for tennis and pickleball. Where to play tennis with kids >
  11. Tide pools. Take a day trip to the Fitzgerald Tide Pools during really low tide to see all the critters.
  12. Wander around Elmwood. Between shopping, playing, and eating donuts, it is so easy to spend the day in the Elmwood District of Berkeley.
collage of children playing: one tennis, one art, one art
Photo collage by KidzToPros

Where else do your grade-school-age kids love to go when school’s out?

Thanks again to KidzToPros for sponsoring this post. From LEGO & Wonder Robotics to coding, Minecraft, and Roblox game design to art skills, graphic design, sports, KidzToPros takes fun and enrichment to the next level. Use code 510-HC50 to save $50 on your registration.

[Photos credits as indicated; used with permission.]

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