If you are looking for a new indoor activity, then head to newly opened PLAY! at Bay Area Children's Theatre's Montclair space. The interactive play and learning experience is aimed at 0-3 year olds and held every Tuesday and Sunday from 10 am to 12 pm. With the recent downpour of rain, I decided to venture to PLAY! with my son, who had a fabulous time and requested to come again.
There were only three other families when we visited but this can vary quite dramatically with our lovely instructor, Emily, telling me the weekends are busier and one session had over 30 kids. The other families were part of a moms' group and the spot really did lend itself well for that – the kids were in a safe, engaging environment, allowing the moms to easily catch-up without too much worry.
The PLAY! sessions take place in a large room that is set up with different “free-play” stations:
- balls sectioned off in a playpen
- large foam blocks
- dress-up items
Emily was great, walking around interacting with the kids as they played and trying to engage them in new activities.
After thirty minutes of free play, She gathered us together for group activities like storytime; she lively read The Very Hungry Caterpillar while encouraging the kids to act out some scenes, such as munching an apple or spreading their wings out to become butterflies. We also had lots of fun popping bubbles, dancing to songs and playing with musical instruments.
My son is at the upper end of their target (at 3.5 years) and even though he would like to come again, I think he would grow out of it pretty soon. The ideal age is about two years old.
Plan your visit to PLAY!
The 2-hour session costs $15/child (adults free); pre-registration is recommended but you can drop-in if they're not overbooked!
Also, if you forget to pack snacks, don't worry, they have applesauce, Pirate's Booty, and drinks available for $1.
Parking can be tricky as there are limited spaces in front of the building, but I drove up Snake Rd and easily found parking on Andrew Street which is a simple walk down to the theatre.
Address: 2162 Mountain Blvd, Oakland, CA 94611