Activities & Classes for Toddlers

Parent Q&A

Weekend classes for toddlers? Aug 5, 2021 (3 responses below)
Activities for 1.5 year old Mar 29, 2021 (2 responses below)
Outdoor story time or toddler group activities? Oct 9, 2020 (3 responses below)
Online classes for toddlers - any you've enjoyed? Jun 30, 2020 (16 responses below)
Drop-in activities for toddlers in/around Berkeley? Nov 5, 2019 (13 responses below)
Child classes that can accommodate toddler and preschooler Apr 17, 2019 (3 responses below)
Gymnastics classes and music classes for 2yr old Sep 9, 2018 (1 responses below)
Seeking "drop-off" class for 2.5 year old! Jul 24, 2018 (4 responses below)
Activities for Toddlers in Piedmont Area Jan 16, 2017 (4 responses below)
Fun classes for under 2 years old? Sep 12, 2016 (6 responses below)
  • Weekend classes for toddlers?

    (3 replies)

    We have a 2.5-year-old boy with a lot of energy, and am wondering if anyone knows of good weekend classes or activities for this age. I'm thinking something more organized and directed than open play at Gymboree -- for example, we did parent/child swim lessons at the Emeryville pool this summer. 

    I heard about a gymnastics class on the UC campus, but does anybody have another good recommendation?

    We’ve started our almost-2-year-old in Sunday morning soccer “classes” at Bladium (in Alameda). The program is called Lil’ Kickers and is nationally franchised. I actually haven’t been to any of the sessions yet (the classes were a Father's Day “gift” for me-- ahem, I mean for my husband!), but from what I hear it’s a lot of training in following directions for group activities (stacking cones, parachute play, etc.) with some soccer thrown in. My son loves to kick a ball, and the class actually doesn’t have quite enough soccer for his liking, as he’s in the youngest age group, but I think the groupings for your son’s age range (“Thumpers” or “Cottontails”) have a fair bit more of that. Anyway, the weekend classes seem to fill up fast, but there are lots of sessions throughout the year.

    In this time, I think outdoor is best. My kids are doing soccer - soccer shots etc. and that has been great. They have a 2-3 class.

    My toddler who is 3 just finished a session with Soccer Shots, and I've signed her up to continue through November (Fall session).  They are GREAT.  High energy, kids get a workout, they don't pressure the kids to participate but know how to encourage them.  Plus, she's starting to understand what teamwork means (hard in this socially distanced time).  I realized this was a good class to teach her what working with other kids meant.  She still struggles with this concept, but in my opinion, better than nothing.  They have a few locations in the East Bay.  We go to Cedar Rose Park, and all the coaches seem great.

    They have classes on Sat/Sun.

  • Activities for 1.5 year old

    (2 replies)

    Any suggestions for activities for a 1.5 year old during near Berkeley? Any outdoor movement classes, animals, art, music? Or perhaps indoor, socially distanced classes? Thank you.

    RE: Activities for 1.5 year old ()

    I’ve been taking my 1.5 to Sing Jam’s outdoor music sessions. The sessions are drop-in, held in playgrounds in Berkeley/Oakland, and have a super fun, chill vibe.

    RE: Activities for 1.5 year old ()

    The Little Farm in Tilden is open again but only with advance reservation, via the website. I checked last weekend for this week and it was booked out! Must plan further ahead, I guess! 

  • Hi, I was wondering if anyone knows of outdoor storytime or similar activities for toddlers in the east bay? My daughter is 14 months old and doesn’t get a chance to be around kids much. I’d love to have her do an outdoor activity that is socially distanced and safe during Covid but will still let her see / be around other kids. Any tips / ideas would be appreciated! 

    Following! I'm also looking for something like this.

    Speaking as a volunteer storytime reader: me and some of my colleagues have discussed this a lot over the past several months, and nobody I know of has found a way to do it safely. When family groups all have to sit six feet away from each other, you quickly reach a point in terms of crowd layout where the storytime reader simply can't be loud enough to reach the back row, or the book isn't visible. That, and the epidemiological x-factor of a bunch of wiggly kids in one place, masks halfway on, all being encouraged to yell and wave their bodies around (plus the bigger problem at every storytime, misbehaving parents).

    Doesn't mean nobody's doing it! But I haven't heard of anyone doing it and I'd personally hesitate to bring my own kid to one, as much as I love storytime. That said, Alameda County just loosened their restrictions on playgrounds, so that may be a better option for now.

    I suggest you form a pod with one or two other families with similarly aged kids, and do regular storytimes with them in someone's backyard or at a park. 

  • We're not feeling comfortable enough to send our son to daycare yet, but we'd like to add some structure to his days. Wondering if anyone has done any toddler classes that you think are worth signing up for. Would love to hear about any type of class - music, sports, art, etc. Zoom is always challenging for this age but I'm running out of ideas, and I think our kid could use a break from his mom all the time too!

    Jon's School of Music has zoom classes, and my son (2.5) has loved them and been super engaged for the whole 30-40 minutes (not the case with other zoom things we tried). I think he's considering adding outdoor classes as well. 

    We've been doing classes with Jon's School of Music, and my daughter has loved them. He's really silly and engaging with the kids, and has a storyline that keeps them paying attention (they have to watch out for Darth Flubber, who is trying to defeat them 😁). He has classes for toddlers up through young elementary school, and the classes are designed to teach the kids beginning music theory about rhythms, scales, keyboard skills (for the older kids) and playing together as a group. For the online classes you just use whatever instruments you might have lying around the house (we use a little drum and xylophone). I think he's exploring doing in-person physically distant classes soon. You can find his contact information and more info on the classes at

    My kid (2.5) hates zoom. The only thing he’s willingly participated in via zoom was the parent-child dance class at Shawl-Anderson. Fun and low-key “dances” like “prance across the room” or “dance close to the computer and then far away.” 

  • We recently relocated to Berkeley from the UK with our 21-month old daughter. I work full-time and my partner is the primary caregiver, and though they enjoy the local parks we were hoping to find some affordable, drop-in play/activity groups where our daughter can interact with other toddlers. In our former home, churches and community centers often organized groups like this and charged a nominal fee for snacks, but I haven't encountered anything like this yet here in Berkeley. Any suggestions? 

    See for City of Berkeley activities. 

    There's also story time-type activities at the various local libraries. 

    Oh, and this 510Families article has a bunch of ideas: 

    Try the Epworth playgroups, it’s in a church but not affiliated with any religious organization.

  • Hi all! I have an almost 4 year old and 19 month old. My 4 year old has done the usual list of classes (East Bay Music Together, Crowden, some gymnastics, swimming, soccer, and ballet) second child has pretty much done nothing b/c it's been tiring to keep up with doing two classes on the weekends (working parents so weekday classes are tough right now) for the 4 year old. In theory, I'd love to find a place that can accommodate both kids in their lessons (either in the same class if a large age range allowed or many classes for the various age ranges running at the same time)....any suggestions beyond Bladium soccer? I could do East Bay Music Together again, but is that going to be too boring for a 4 year old? Thanks!

    I'm facing exactly the same issue, and would love to hear more ideas on what to do with two kids aged 1.5 and 4. Here's my thinking so far: Music Together offers a Spanish language option (canta y baila conmigo), so that might be challenging for both kids in different ways. Another option I've looked at are concurrent but different gymnastics classes - from a brief look at online schedules, both Head over  Heels in Alameda, and Berkeley Rec Club offer concurrent Saturday and Sunday classes for these age groups. The other idea I might try is concurrent and back-to-back soccer classes (this might work with Super Soccer Stars depending on how far you're willing to drive). Finally, I envision hanging out at Lawrence Hall of Science and at the Oakland Museum of California with both kids, as they seem to have a lot for these age groups. But this has stumped me too - I'm really looking forward to ideas. 

    Thanks for response! I was thinking the same in terms of different level but same scheduled time for certain classes....Bladium usually has a ton of classes, so may try that for the summer as they have classes for both age ranges typically scheduled at the same time. A little bit out of the way in terms location but manageable. Was also looking into Head over Heels, and maybe swim classes at YMCA or Aquatech...tough to get into weekend classes though.  Fairyland, zoo, Oakland Museum and Chabot center have been good spots for us but hoping to get more ideas to mix things up....Lawrence Hall and Rec Club are good ideas to check into...

    Have you visited Hands-On in Berkeley ( It’s a STEAM lab, and we love it so much. The owner is a teacher, and it’s great for sibs because she will set out different projects based on the age of each kid. And she limits the number of kids who are in at a time, so the kids get plenty of attention. The drop-in sessions are for ages 18 mo - 6 years, I think, so perfect for you! Enjoy!

  • Hi Parents,

    We live in Berkeley with a 2 year old. I’d love to start with gymnastics and music lessons. We are relatively new to the neighborhood so I thought I’d ask for recommendations.

    He used to go to Gymboree but seems to have outgrown it.

    Many thanks!!

    [moderator note: here are the many recent replies to the previous question about music classes for toddlers]

    My 2yo is loving gymnastics at Head Over Heels in Emeryville. There is also a drop-in open gymnastics play at Cal Bears in Berkeley that we have done once that was fun.

  • Hey Parents,

    Seeking a weekday "Drop off" class for our 2.5 year old. She will be starting preschool this fall & we have yet to "drop off" anywhere! 

    Thank you! 

    I don't know of any classes that are drop-off before age three at the earliest, unfortunately. Is this just to practice for preschool? I wouldn't worry too much about it if that's the case--preschools are pros at helping kids transition even if they don't have any experience with being left by their parents. Maybe try a drop-off playdate with a friend?

    In Lafayette there’s at the community center. You can use4/day, 12 hours/week, pack no nut lunch/snack/drink. They change diapers. $12 or $13/hr. It’s on their website. Easy to schedule and use. I live near that area and not in Berkeley/Oakland so don’t have any recs there. 

    The first drop off situation I did with my daughter before she started preschool last fall was at Habitot - they do a once a month parents night out on the fourth Friday of the month, for ages 2 and up. If you're open to an evening drop off situation, Habitot has worked out very well for us, my tentative child loved it at 2 1/2.

  • Activities for Toddlers in Piedmont Area

    (4 replies)

    Hi there! I'm new to the area and my nanny and I are looking for activities during the week? Things like readings at Libraries, music classes, art classes, etc. In the city we did a couple classes at Peekadoodle -is there something like that in the area?

    Thanks! We live in the Dracena Park area in Piedmont.

    Welcome to Piedmont! We must be neighbors of sorts as we are also in the Dracena Park neighborhood. The Piedmont branch of Oakland Public Libraries (80 Echo Ave) hosts a cute toddler story time on Wednesday at 10:15 am. It's held in the small brick building to the right of the library trailer. 

    Piedmont Recreation Department puts on Kindermusik classes and all sorts of activities (sports, arts, swim, etc.) for people of all ages. Their catalog of classes is available online and you can filter to your child's age and interests, days of the week, etc.:

    We moved to Piedmont a year ago (1 yr & 2 weeks, but who's counting ;P) and signed my then 3.5 yo son up for the soccer and sports classes through Piedmont Rec and found it a great way to meet other moms and playmates for my kids. 

    If your nanny drives, the story time at the Claremont branch of Berkeley Library is always lively and fun (albeit, very popular so sometimes at capacity). My 2 yo loved Gymboree classes on Lakeshore Ave. 

    Other drop-in activities we enjoyed for some indoor running around when these rainy days seemed never ending:

    Hi there, welcome to Piedmont.  We are nearby in Lower Piedmont.  Our nanny takes our 2 year old to Kindermusik through the Piedmont rec dept.  They have classes Wed and Thurs morning and you can sign up through the PRD website.  They also do storytime at the Rockridge library, and when the weather is nice, Fairyland.  Recently, we purchased membership at the Rec Room in Berkeley so they go there several times a week.  It's only $50/month for an unlimited number of visits.  They have storytime and activities there, too.  I haven't personally been but after visiting several of the local play spaces our nanny liked this one best.  

    Welcome!  We are on Piedmont/Dracena park border and I also have a toddler.  There's a piedmont playgroup that meets weekly.  If you are into nature activities, there's tinkergarden nearby. I think the rest was covered by the previous posts.

    Hope his helps,


  • Fun classes for under 2 years old?

    (6 replies)

    I'm looking for a Saturday/Sunday morning class for my 16 month old, and am most interested in music, gymnastics/dance, or swim classes.  Most of what I'm finding online so far seems more geared toward parents who are available during the work week, but am hoping for a weekend class in the Oakland/Berkeley/Alameda areas. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!


    The UC Village recreation facility has a gymnastics class on Saturday mornings for children that age. I don't know if there are any more open spots for this session but in about a month or so there will be a new session starting. We go to a class during the week and my 23 month old daughter loves it.

    I really enjoyed the classes at Kinetic Arts Center in West Oakland. Small and fun with great teachers. I appreciated that the class attendance is flexible - you can pay for a certain # of classes and then just show up to whichever ones you want - without losing money on unattended classes. They have the same class on Sat and Sun just at different times so you can choose what works best for you. 

    They also usually have some older kid classes going on during so your child can be exposed to other types of circus/gymnastics.

    Aquatech in Alameda offers Saturday/Sunday swim classes that are great for little ones. Ours has been going since she was 10 months old. Indoor heated pool, so year round classes. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Toddler Activities in Lakeshore Area

March 2011

We have a 20 month old in a great nanny share with another 22 month old in the Crocker Highlands area of Oakland. We are wondering how we can provide the boys (and the nanny) with more socialization and activities before they go to preschool at age 3. Curious to know how frequently other parents take their toddlers to activities.

Currently, the boys go to Kindergym one day a week and sometimes to story hour at the Lakeshore library. They go to the park daily. We just got a pass to Fairyland, but its only open on Fridays. Any suggestions for any activities that are accessible without a car in the area? Any art/music classes or anything near Park Blvd in the Glenview area? We've tried Gymboree on Lakeshore. Our nanny does not drive.

Thanks in advance for any advice Crocker Highlands Mom

We have a 3 year old, who is now in preschool. Prior to starting her in preschool, our nanny (who also did not drive) used to walk her down to Lakeshore everyday. They alternated between Gymboree, the park and the library.

I really thought that our toddler got a good balance between these activities. Sometimes there is a tendency to overprogram little ones and we were cautious not to get her involved in too many activities. At 1 and 2 years old, everything is still exciting, including going to the park, for walks, the library. So, I felt that she was plenty stimulated. And it sounds like your little one is getting a lot of socialization with your nanny share and Kindergym.

Just my two cents... Best of luck! Jessica

Music/Movement/Art/Outdoor Classes for Toddler?

Feb 2011

I've been checking the archives and am looking for recent recommendations for great classes for my toddler (13 months old right now, but I'm also interested in stuff that she could do over the next year or so, as she gets older). Aside from library/storytimes, what are some classes that have really resonated for your little ones? I live in the San Leandro area, but would be willing to travel for a great class. -Seeker

There are so many fun things to do with a toddler. My son's absolute favorite class is his music class at Jon's School of Music. He's been going since he was 17 months old, he's now 22 months(Jon can certainly have younger kids) and he has loved it since the beginning. He looks forward to it every week. Jon holds classes in San Francisco and in Berkeley (which wouldn't be a stretch from San Leandro). I love the class myself. It's so fun to see how excited all the little one's get and the songs are really fun.

I also take him to a swimming class at the Downtown Berkeley YMCA . It's definitely been a great way to get him comfortable in water and to learn about splashing, blowing bubbles, and kicking in the water. It's been very fun for him.

I haven't been yet, but I've heard the gymnastics classes at Head Over Heels are fun and particularly great for kids who naturally love to climb. It's in Emeryville and they have classes for kids as young as 12 months.

Beyond that, spending time at playgrounds is great, going to museums, like the Museum of Children's Art in Oakland where they have a great children's art making studio for $8 a visit, Habitot in Berkeley, and the Bay Discovery Museum which is free the first Wednesday of every month.

I hope this helps! I've spent a lot of time looking for fun activities for my little guy. It's been good for both of us! Nina L.

My kids love John's School of Music . My oldest went from the time he was 2 until he turned 5. The middle one started when he was about 14 months and is still in it. My youngest is only 5 months, and John is always great about letting her come along. The classes involve music, dancing, playing instruments, running around, story time, and stamps at the end of class. John has classes for all ages up to about 6 or 7. Each class incorporates elements of the younger kids class, and adds elements to keep the kids entertained, and learning about music. (415)971-5435 Paul

Toddler Activities and classes

Jan 2011

I am a stay at home mom to a social and energetic 21 month old. We are in a couple of groups with moms and kids her age and we go to Gymboree a couple of times a week. She really enjoys her time at Gymboree, but we've been going there a long time so I would like to find a new somewhat structured activity for her. She loves to dance, so perhaps a dance/music class? Arts & crafts? I would like to stay away from places with a ton of toys, we can do that at home :) Any/all recommendations are greatly appreciated! anon

You might consider looking for a playgroup. I am a member of a wonderful playgroup in El Cerrito. We meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9-11. ECCP is open to kids 20 months to 5 years accompanied by their parent, grandparent, or guardian. Though not church-affiliated, we meet in the United Methodist Church cellar on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 AM. Our dues are minimal. If you have a younger kid, you can bring him or her along too and older siblings are welcome when school is not in session. More information at:

We really like Music Together. You might also check out the classes at Head Over Heels in Emeryville, or the toddler swim or sports classes at the Berkeley Y.

Try Kids N Dance in Oakland. They have a great Parent and Me class for 18m to 3y. It has 15 minutes of free play/tumbling then dance. You can do a trial free drop in class. anon

Activities in Berkeley with 1-year-old

Feb 2008

Just moved into Berkeley from NYC and am looking for a playgroup and/or childcare co-op/swap in the area for my one-year-old boy. (I'm at Bancroft near San Pablo.) Eager to meet parents as well as playmates for my son and appreciate any leads on parenting groups & activities in the area. Many thanks, Maria.

Welcome! We and our one year old live in the same neighborhood and spend lots of time at the Acton tot lot (between Allston and Addison). When we're up for a slightly longer walk (and a cleaner park) we head to Cedar-Rose park (Cedar and Chestnut). Our son can happily spend two hours there. We also really like the park at the very end of Bancroft where there's always a good chance that a train will go by. We've gone to Studio Grow twice although I think that'll be even better when he's more mobile. We also joined the Oakland Zoo which makes for a great ''bigger'' outing. Grandma graciously gifted us a Music Together class which was fun and nearby and my guess is that I could have formed some relationships with other parents in the class if I had wanted to. Everyone was very nice.

When my son was a few weeks old I joined a moms' support group. I did it through Support Group for Mothers which is a local institution. You can find out more about them here: I think they also have groups for parents of older kids like yours.

You obviously know about the BPN. The ''announcements'' newsletter is a great source of special fun activities to do with your son. The ''childcare'' issue is where we found our fabulous nanny share right here in the neighborhood. rachel

I'm sure you'll get this same recommendation from many other moms: I highly suggest you start hanging out in my three favorite little kid spots. When my boy was 1 I just loved taking him here. You'll see!

1) Totland Park (Virginia at McKee)

2) Studio Grow (10th and Gilman)

3) Tumble & Tea (Telegraph at 43rd)

You will find lots of other cool parents there too! Lisa in Oakland

Afternoon Mom/Toddler Classes

Nov. 2003

Yikes! My toddler gave up napping and I'm in search of a toddler class to take him to in the early afternoon. I've searched past recommendations but have found only activities to do (Habitot, Mocha, etc.). Can anyone recommend a class that might incorporate play, art, and circle time? I'm not looking for a drop-off daycare situation but hope to find a class that parents can participate in, too. Thanks!!!

Recommendations received: