Seeking Classes for Toddlers

Parent Q&A

  • Seeking "drop-off" class for 2.5 year old!

    (4 replies)

    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! 

    Tots Around Town through the City of Berkeley.

    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.

    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. 

    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?

  • 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.

    Kindergym with Dawn Margolin at Temple Beth Abraham is of legendary status in the East Bay. I first heard about Kindergym from a couple of mom friends (who all said I "had" to go) and have found it to be such a wonderful part of both being a parent and having a very active toddler. My son loves his "gym" and Dawn has created such a wonderful, warm, diverse, welcoming, educational, fun and safe environment. She herself is a force for good and acceptance and this energy feeds the environment at Kindergym. Not only does it get the wiggles out when my son gets to swing, climb, slide, jump and play from station to station, but I get to talk with other parents, get to know my community and learn more about being the kind of parent that is present for my child in a way that I hope I can sustain. We love Kindergym, love Dawn and love being a part of this extended family.

    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,


    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 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:

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  • 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!


    I highly recommend Ruby's Tumbling in Alameda for gymnastics. My older child went there since she was almost 2 yrs old. She is 7 and still sometimes takes an older kids class, although it's mostly geared towards younger kids. I also take my 2 yr old daughter and she loves it. There are Saturday classes.

    Have you looked at Gymboree on Lakeshore?  We took our son there most weekends from 16 to 24 months old and we all really enjoyed it.   

    Our daughter attends UC Berkeley's Gymnastic program Saturday morning. Perhaps you should swing by and take a look. To attend the program, I think you are required to be 18 months. Our daughter absolutely loves it. Outside of gymnastics, we do a lot of family events and look for places where she can explore stepping up and down and exploring spaces/places.  I think most of the things that are available start at 3 years of age. We go to the Discovery Museum in Sausalito and Lawrence Hall of Science on a frequent basis -- but they are both remodeling this month. Hope this helps. 

    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. 

    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.

    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.

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions More Suggestions

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!!!

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