Activities to Do with Babies

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi BPN! I'm looking for some parent-baby activities in the Albany area, age 0-6 months. Open to type of activity, e.g., exercise, music, etc. Thanks in advance!

    If she is offering it in person the very best class I have taken is Kim Lyon’s tum e time class. It’s the best!

    Have you tried looking at Sing Jam events? They  set up in local parks

  • Loverly vs. KiwiCo?

    Aug 24, 2021

    Hi all - Trying to pick a subscription service for my son that just turned 5 months old. He's very curious and we're already deep into reading, regular singing, and other STEM style toys. Looking for something engaging and have read good things about Loverly, was leaning that way but have seen quite a few ads on KiwiCo. Curious which folks found best? Or any other subscription toy services you like for your kids. Thanks! 


    We have had KiwiCo on subscription since my son was ... maybe 18 months? 2 years? He's now 6 and he has LOVED it. The activities are ingenious and for the most part, the materials and quality are really nice. I will say that I ultimately end up with a lot of broken toys that I have to throw out (because how sturdy is a plaything assembled by a small child really going to be?) and I have a hard time with that personally, but they have been well used until that time.

    My sense is that KiwiCo is a little more "activity" based - there are experiments, things to assemble, etc. - whereas Lovevery is a little more a curated set of toys specially designed for developmentally appropriate exploration. KiwiCo is a little cheaper, but as mentioned, the toys you get from Lovevery look like they would hold up and be passed down better.

    If I had to make a recommendation for your 5-month-old, I might go with Lovevery, with the option of checking out KiwiCo as he gets a little older and interested in doing "projects." I also considered Green Pinata Toys which is more a rental company for toys, which is kind of nice in a way, but we didn't try it (


    I really enjoy lovevery. Their boxes toys come with guides to support play and teach skills and they toys are very appealing to my little.  I started with picking toys that I liked and purchasing them through the FB buys/sell/trade group and will start woth a full box directly from them this month as my little turns 11months.  Lovevery uses real kids in their books and toys and my little loves this much more than I thought he would. I’d personally go with them over kiwi co if price isn’t an issue.  The other subscription to consider is MontiKids.  We might switch over to them in a few months but wanted some of the toys from lovevery first.  PS. Lovevery just released a line at Target. 

    We did both and the quality of Lovevery  was much better than Kiwi. Kiwi was fun to put together and the books are great, but the toys/products are flimsy and get destroyed or used up almost immediately. The toys with Lovevery are sturdy and can get passed down to friends or future kids. 

    We have Lovevery and it's great.  My daughter is three and we still get the toys.  They are educational while interesting, and I even find the booklets they send for parents to be highly educational for the parent!  My daughter plays with several of the toys to this day and has actually learned from them.  They are wood, high quality, and don't have flashing lights/cheap plastic.  They were a lifesaver during the pandemic when we were home by ourselves.  Right when she would get bored, once a week I'd pull out a new toy.  They are especially great with motor skills and puzzles.

    I know nothing about KiwiCo, but we are very happy with Lovevery.

    We also got a Lovevery subscription when my kid’s daycare closed for several months during the pandemic. I think my kid was maybe 7 months at the time. The toys were popular, but what my child has really liked from those boxes are the books. Real pictures of real kids doing things within their experience. Some toys that my kid didn’t like early on turned out to just be too advanced at the time. My kid has played with most of the toys now.

    I think a prior poster is correct: Loveevery sends nice, well-curated toys, whereas Kiwi is more activity/science experiment based, like creating animals with colored cellophane, or using number-shaped cookie cutters to punch numbers out of baby-clay. 

  • Seeking suggestions for Covid-safe new experience for older, non-walking babies (I have 10 month twins).  We are very Covid risk-averse - both parents work from home, groceries delivered, no socializing with other people (even outside/social distanced), avoiding crowded places.  We've been doing pretty well in a routine that is focused around our home, our backyard, walks around the neighborhood, picnic blanket at the local park, and hikes.  But earlier this week, we had to go to the hospital for an x-ray for one of the girls, and I was struck by how intently she was taking in everything that was going on around us (the elevator, the people, the Xray machine) -- and it made me think that maybe they are missing out by not being in new/stimulating environments on occasion. But I'm a bit stuck in thinking of what those environments are right now that aren't a Covid risk -- again, we are VERY risk averse (so pumpkin patches or visitng Lake Merritt for example are outside our comfort zone). The are crawling and climbing, but not walking yet, and love to put anything and everything in their mouths.

    I would maybe look for an outdoor play group in a couple months. I agree it's time for you to start casually thinking about this, but i don't think 10 month olds are going to be harmed by hanging out at home with the fam.

    We are cautious about Covid but still allow family members to visit, our 3 year old is in preschool, and we take the kids (occasionally but rarely) to Target or other stores.  With that being said, we primarily have our 10 month old at home - not because of Covid - just because it's hard to get kids out of the house!   We aren't worried about it.  With our 3 year-old, she predominately became interested in other activities around 1.5 years or so.

    My son was about your babies' age when the pandemic started. He finally puts less things in his mouth now, but he still does, so I get that part. Since your babies aren't walking yet, I think you have an advantage here when going out. I would go to parks with big spaces to spread out on a blanket with your own toys (the Berkeley Marina, Memorial Park in Albany, Dover Park in Berkeley are good examples that have space). That way, they can see other kids from a distance and not be as isolated. It's awkward when another child comes up and wants your toys, but parents around here seem pretty respectful of boundaries right now. It's great that they have each other, but being exposed to children and adults other than what they are used to, even from a distance, is important for their development. It's a process we all have to figure out and get comfortable with. 

  • Hi,

    I'd like to take my 11 month old son to library story times or other free or low-cost classes/activities, but they all conflict with his morning nap! Any suggestions for a 10:30am napper? It seems like everything I find starts at either 10 or 11. Or costs $20+ per session, which is more than I want to spend. We're in North Oakland so looking in Oakland/Berkeley/Emeryville.


    I feel like I had the same issue for such a long time, and now that my kid naps at noon it seems like everything is at noon. Ugh. 
    But there are a couple of evening storytimes: 

    Berkeley Central library at 6:30 on Tuesdays (Ann plays like 17 instruments and is super sweet)

    OPL’s Dimond Branch has Pajama Storytime at 7, also on Tuesdays. I haven’t been to this one bc Berkeley is more convenient for us, but I’ve heard good things about it. 

    And this weekend there are some kid-friendly symphony performances at OPL’s main library, Saturday at 1:30 and 2:15

    When it’s warm again I also recommend the ECCL pool, which is very nice and has cheap ($5?) drop-in family swim times in the afternoons. Not exactly an organized activity, but very exciting for kids who like water.

    This happened to me too when my son young. I realized that the 11am activities are for older babies who nap around 1 or 2. Just wait a few months and the naps will readjust. Your baby will drop from 2 naps to 1, and that one nap will move a little later. This will free up your morning for activities. 

    There’s “baby rave” and other things at the Berkeley children’s theatre 

    We have taken our son to the Berkeley Public Library storytimes that take place in the afternoon at the Claremont branch on Thursdays 4-5pm!

  • Hello! Can anyone recommend a good place in the east bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Emeryville ideally) to take baby, where there are good breastfeeding spots and otherwise casual/supportive? I've dealt with one too many meltdowns with baby in a crowded coffee shop where there's hardly a chair to sit in to breastfeed, let alone space to swaddle her or do anything else. I don't care so much about bothering people with a crying baby, but i feel like in many places, I am not able to meet baby's needs as well as I would like to.

    I am looking for more places with comfy chairs, large enough space, casual setting, good places to change baby... The Nordstrom in Walnut creek has a wonderful large women's lounge and mother's room, and that's a good example of a place where if she needs feeding/a quiet place/somewhere I can lay her down, I know where to go. I don't mind breastfeeding in public, it's just that many casual restaurants have uncomfortable seating... or they're outdoor areas which aren't good when it's cold... et cetera. 

    Where did you take baby to get out of the house/when you were still learning to parent, that you felt had enough comfort/space/other resources for a parent with a baby?

    Thank you!

    I didn’t find a lot of places like that but two recommendations I would have are the baby brigade films on Thursday afternoons at the New Parkway theater and mommy and me yoga classes ( you get at least a little exercise and yoga bolsters are great improviser nursing pillows). I took a series at Then Comes Baby and did dropins at Nest. There are several other studios that offer that. I wish there were more cafes with couch seating around here! 

    There is Brezo in Point Richmond - they have kids corner with comfy armchair for BF and lots of toys that I used to district my little one while trying to eat. It's a bit far but it's the most kids/BF friendly brunch place with great food from all I've tried.

    This might a weird suggestion, but when I had an infant I took him to IKEA all the time, especially on rainy days when I still wanted to get out of the house. They’re so family-friendly, from priority parking, to changing areas, to free coffee for family card members if you’re so inclined. The cafe area is usually not crowded on weekdays, and we’d stroll around the aisles in his stroller or look at all the toys in bright Scandinavian colors in the kids section near the cafe. 

    If you are looking to go to a movie.  Monday at the alameda theater they offer a baby and me movie.  The parkway also offers one on Thursdays.

    Here is a good resource of kid friendly restaurants.

    Cafe Leila is baby friendly. Not sure if Baby Brunch is still happening, but I used to go on Wed mornings to a moms group there. Also, Rec Room in Berkeley!

    In Berkeley there is a place called Rec Room which is like a coffee shop for parents with lots of kids activities. I also recommend library. There are good story times for babies, they all have changing tables, and I’ve heard you can even check out toys at the main one in Oakland. 

    I used to take my youngest son to IKea when he was a baby and toddler because there is a good sized baby changing room near the cafeteria. You could also nurse in that room.  It was stocked with wipes and diapers. He also loved watching the trucks on the highway from the cafeteria windows and playing with the toys displayed nearby. We always went weekday mornings when it wasn’t busy. 

    We used to go to IKEA... until my kids got old enough to figure out it was a store! ;)

    Nice sized family restroom and good space to waddle around for toddlers.

    If your baby isn’t yet crawling, the postpartum group on Friday’s at Oakland Birth and Wellness is a great place. It’s free (donation suggested), they have a changing table and supplies, rocking chairs, pillows and fellow parents willing to watch your baby while you use the restroom! Here is their website.

    I think a place like the Rec Room in Berkeley might be a good fit for a casual drop in spot. I also went to Then Comes Baby in Oakland by the lake. They are not a drop in place, but they have lots of stuff for new parents and had a few opportunities each week just to come in to their Open Loune, hang out, grab a cup of coffee, meet other people. They have cozy couches, too.

    I'm sure there are more, but that should be a good start for you. Good luck!

    Try the baby storytimes at different libraries in Berkeley and Oakland. Almost every public library branch has one, and there are lots of other young children so there is plenty of commotion. Libraries also have good bathrooms and comfy chairs. The Walnut Creek library a mile from Nordstrom has an amazing children's area.

    When I was on leave I took twin babies to the Oakland museum. It is a huge place with plenty of places to hide out in, and lots of good bathrooms. You and baby get to walk around and look at stuff (and learn some really interesting things). When they are really young it's actually pretty easy to take them around (even with two!), they can't do much other than hang out in a carrier/stroller. Now that they're older they want to move around all the time, which is more of a challenge!

  • Fun classes for baby

    Aug 30, 2018

    Hi. Im currently looking for classes to do with my 10 month old boy being music, swim etc. Are there any specific classes anyone can recommend? Id like to start getting him out more and socializing. Thanks so much! 


    Music Together class is great! And has lots of locations. My 20mo is on his 4th season. We did a swim class at El Cerrito over the summer he enjoyed too. I'm looking into a gymnastic option for him since he loves to be active, climbing etc. We did a baby Yoga class together when he was younger at Yogalam. Probably many good options around. For socializing there is also just the parks- Totland is good- and Rain or Shine is good too for rainy days drop in. Tons of kids around so just get out!

    Music together classes at several locations in the east bay. I plan to start this fall. I’ve heard great things.

    Music together was fun with both my grandsons. 

    Many public libraries in the area offer baby story times that include a short program, typically with songs and stories, and often followed by open play time.  A great way for babies to be together and for parents and caretakers to meet others. Free! Check your area library websites for details.

    Parent/Child dance series at Luna Dance in Berkeley was great. They offer Baby & toddler classes a couple times a year. 

    We also did Mommy & Me yoga classes. 

    we also loved the Baby swim classes at Aquatech in Alameda.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Looking for places to hang out with 5 month old during the day


I'm looking for more places to take my 5-month-old on weekdays, especially afternoons, because I go buggy if we stay home all day. I've been to malls and the Emeryville public market, bookstores, the zoo, parks etc. With winter coming I'd like to get a bigger indoor repertoire. I need places where you can hang out at a table for a long time without being glared at, where changing the baby's diaper won't involve a long trek, and where there's enough going on that a fussy baby won't be the center of attention. Thoughts?

One of my favorite places to take my son -- babyhood through the present -- is the Steinhart Aquarium in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Babies/kids LOVE marine life, and it is fun for mom and dad, too. There is just room after room of fish, penguins, etc. (There is a pretty awesome snack bar and gift shop/s, too.) Generally, it is pretty much a free to be you and me environment. There is even an Africa-themed baby/toddler play area, where you can really let your hair down. If you like it there and want to go often, the best bargain is the annual pass with unlimited visits. You may want to wrap it up there at around 3?, though, so you don't get trapped in traffic back to the East Bay.

-- When my son was an infant I would also take him to museums. This is more risky if your baby has a fit and there are some serious art-lovers around, but I was surprised at how often my son would look at everything and then fall into a nice Baby Bjorn sleep, allowing me to wander.... Museums usually seem to have great bathrooms and cafes.

-- In the East Bay, I like the Circus Pub on Kensington Circle (in Kensington), which is TOTALLY kid-friendly. You could have a nice shepherd's pie (for instance) while you play with your baby in the bona fide play area. There are always other parents and kids, so you could eat a meal and meet some nice folks.

-- In Marin, my favorite place is the Discovery Museum. Some of it is outdoors, but lots is indoors. Some of the stuff may be too old for your baby, but there is one building with sort of a waterbed play area, etc., that was perfect for my friend's twins recently.

-- If all of this sounds like too much traveling in rush hour, another thing you might consider is Kindergym, which I think? offers classes for babies.... I took Debra (sp?) Bonet's wonderful class in Albany, which was Wednesdays at 4 or so. I think classes are offered all over the East Bay, though. Both of us got exercise and to hang out with a nice group of kids and parents. Debra is a swell teacher, calm and patient, very creative with music and dance. Good luck and have fun!