Indoor Fun in the East Bay: 8 Things to Do on Rainy Days - 510 Families

Indoor Fun in the East Bay: 8 Things to Do on Rainy Days

Our guide to great places to spend rainy days with little kids is sponsored by Hands-On! Berkeley, conveniently located two stores down from Mr Mopps' Toy Store and across the road from Fatapples Bakery.

Wow, can the time pass slowly inside the house on a rainy day! Here is a list of fantastic indoor family activities for East Bay parents to consider.

little kid scientist
This busy scientist is mixing liquid watercolors and flour | Photo: Hands-On! Berkeley

Places to go with Bay Area kids on a rainy day

Get hands-on with a science project

No patience for a mess in your own house? For up to 75 minutes, Hands-On! Berkeley is ready to entertain you with STEAM activities galore at their drop-in science lab. Hands-On! is a makerspace with a multitude of materials and experiences in order for your child to follow their curiosity wherever it leads. In a warm and inviting space, the staff facilitates scientific inquiry and powerful learning experiences through science, tech, engineering, art and math. Every visit is different.

mix up slime
In each Hands-On! class, kids (two and up) play, explore and create | Photo: Hands-On! Berkeley

Go to a family-friendly movie

With onsite cafes, The New Parkway in Oakland and The Cerrito Speakeasy in El Cerrito both make it possible to feed your kids a real dinner and watch a movie at the same time. If they need to flop their bodies around during the show, there's room for that. Lots of other movie theaters offer $5 Tuesday movies >

New Parkway Theater in Oakland
New Parkway Theater in Oakland has couches and bean bags for wiggly bodies | Photo: Heather Flett

Jump and roll around

Check our calendar to see if any of the local open gym hours are happening (Cal Golden Bears in Berkeley; Head Over Heels in Emeryville; Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda all offer them) and if not, consider making the drive to Sky High Sports in Concord or Rockin Jump in Fremont or Dublin for some bouncing time. Even Pump It Up in Oakland offers Pop In Playtime where you pay by the hour.

Head Over Heels preschool gym
Head Over Heels preschool gymnastics | Photo: Julia Gidwani

Toddle around

Need something to do before naptime? Habitot is open until 12:30 every day for little ones. Kids Gym in Berkeley is ideal for preschoolers who need an outing after naptime as they are open until 7 pm! See our full list of indoor playspaces for toddlers and preschoolers here >

Water play at Habitot

Step away from the screen

Well, trade screens for other screens, anyway. Big kids can get their video game fix at Plank in Oakland. In Alameda, the Pacific Pinball Museum offers pinball from every era. Drive out to Concord for Q-Zar Lazer Tag or Round1 Entertainment. Other places for big kids to play indoors are on this list >

Arcade plus bowling, billiards, karaoke, and birthday parties are available at Round1.

Play Indoor Sports

Albany Bowl and Bowlero Alameda offer hours of bowling fun for multi-generational crowds. Try something new at Fat Shafts Archery in Benicia.

Bowling with Kids and other weekend ideas
Albany Bowl | Photo: Anna Azimi

Learn something at a Museum

The science museums, Chabot Space & Science in Oakland and Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley are super kid-friendly, as is Sulphur Creek Nature Center in Hayward ($2 for a toddler class!). Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA) and Oakland Museum of California are beautiful spaces to explore together and offer hands-on areas for little ones to feel engaged. See a list of Bay Area science museums for kids here >

Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland

What are your go-to activities for rainy days?

little scientist
It takes a steady hand. Mixing potions and bubble solutions | Photo: Hands-On! Berkeley

Thanks to Hands-On! Check their website for hours and more details about drop-in classes, camps, and parties.

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