While session sign-ups are great for consistency and development, sometimes it’s great to get out and do something different. Luckily in the Bay Area, the options for drop-in classes are pretty awesome. From art to yoga classes and STEAM to indoor play, we’ve rounded up our favorite activities and got you covered every day of the week. Check out our list, grab the little ones and have some fun!


Broadway Babies and Kids via Yelp

Playtime at Broadway Babies and Kids
This quiet little studio tucked in downtown San Carlos is perfect for little ones learning the world around them. Ideal for the 5 and under set, drop-in playtime includes a dance and sing-along party at every session. With a quiet train room, soft play toys and even a mini playhouse studio. It’s a great place to meet other moms in a small space that encourages community.

1101 Laurel St.
San Carlos, CA 94070
Phone: 650-218-6831
Online: broadwaybabiesandkids.com

Playland at Mt. Tam Adventures
Promoting exercise, socializing, community and fun for families, this indoor playground is a great way to spend the morning, but their weekly drop-in classes are what really make this Sausalito space special. Music and Reptile classes are hosted every day, where kids 7 and under can learn something new in a fun way. Classes are free with admission and parents can take advantage of the complimentary Peet’s coffee and tea while kids play.

610 Coloma St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
Phone: 415-377-9678
Online: mttamadventures.com

Spanish Story time at Charlie’s Corner
The independent neighborhood bookstore gives us all the feels, and not just because of the wide variety of titles for kids. Their interactive story times are something else, with dramatic storytellers bringing the book to life with music and play. Story time is offered everyday in various languages, like Spanish, several times during the week and on the weekends. Kids of all ages can drop-in for free in a creative and cozy space.

4102 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415-641-1104
Online: charliescorner.com



Studio 4 Art

Art Class at Studio 4 Art
Voted Best Art Studio in Marin for two years in a row, kids can reserve a spot for a hands-on art session at this fantastic space. With locations in Mill Valley, Novato and San Anselmo, activities include wheel throwing, clay sculpting, mosaics, hand sewing, printmaking, screen painting and painting on canvas. All materials are included and drop-off is available for kids ages 5 and older.

1133 Grant Ave.
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: 415-596-5546
Online: studio4art.net

Art Studio at Children’s Art Center
This non-profit, Reggio Emilia-focused community organization is all about unleashing that inner creativity. With a 6:1 student/teacher ratio, toddlers and preschoolers can participate in a variety of guided art classes. Tuesdays are for the older set, with about two hours to create something of their own with various art materials. While drop-ins are welcome, if an art class is something your little wants to do, be sure to register ahead of time to avoid a potential meltdown if the class is full.

Fort Mason Center
2 Marina Blvd. Building C
San Francisco, CA 94123
Phone: 415-771-0292
Online: childrensartcenter.org

Story time & Craft at IHeartArt
Little ones that aren’t afraid to get messy need to check out the Open Studio at IHeartArt in Pleasant Hill. Classes are offered as drop-in only and taught by expert teachers or founders (who also happen to be moms, teachers and artists themselves). Tables are set up with different projects including a paint wall, LEGO wall and “makers table”. On Tuesday mornings, story time is followed by a craft for a fun experience.

15 Vivian Dr.
Pleasant Hill. CA 94523
Phone: 925-602-0140
Online: iheartartstudio.co

Special Needs Jump Time
Every Tuesday, Sky High Sports turns off the music, dims the lights and dials down the distractions for the comfort of guests. Jump sessions for kids with special needs and their families is a passion project for Sky High founder Jerry Raymond. The father of a special needs son, Jerry has witnessed how jumping can help improve motor and sensory skills, social interaction and overall fitness for kids and young adults on the Autism spectrum as well as young people with Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and other disorders. During special jump sessions, each jumper is $5 from 3-6 p.m. with one parent or therapist free. Family members who jump are also just $5. 

2880 Mead Ave.
Santa Clara, CA
Online: sjc.skyhighsports.com


Stemful via Yelp

Toddler STEAM at Stemful
This San Francisco play space for the 10 and under set is all about “sprouting curiosity” through STEAM. If you've got a toddler or preschooler, check out the drop-in class for Toddler STEAM and Mini STEAMster where hands-on math and science activities support development while songs and stories develop language comprehension. Other fun activities include movie night for the kids 4-10 years old and Community Play Space where kids can have unstructured play during open hours.

30 29th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 660-5975
Online: sf-stemful.com

Gymnastics at Junior Gym
Check out open gym at this fun, friendly and colorful gym ready to help your little ones get out a ton of energy in an unstructured environment. With locations in San Mateo and Santa Rosa, the gym also holds birthday parties, summer camp and parents night out. Open gym is from 12-1 p.m. on weekdays for $8 and available to buy as a single pass or as a punch card for multiple visits. Current enrolled students are free.

811 South B St.
San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone: 650-548-9901
Online: juniorgym.com

Art Class at MOCHA Art Studio
Open to all artists of any age, this newly-relocated studio in Oakland has transformed their open studio space with new themes every month. Kids can create robots and experience maker space with materials appropriate for their age. At $7/person, it’s an inexpensive way to unleash their inner creativity in a fun way. Kids under one are free.

1221 Broadway, Lower Level, Suite 49
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-465-8770
Online: mocha.org

Parkour Class at Sessions Academy
This spot is the place to be for kids who need to burn off some serious energy. On Wednesdays, those in the 5-8 age group can drop in at 5 p.m. and the 9-13 crew at either 4 p.m. or 6 p.m. Classes are an hour long and include American Ninja Warrior-style drills, stretching, balance and jumping. They also offer classes the rest of the week, including a girls-only Sunday class. 

2016 Senter Rd.
San Jose, CA
Online: sessionsgym.com


Little Learners at SF Zoo
For little ones who never want to leave the bears, lions and tigers, check out the children’s classes at the San Francisco Zoo. Pre-registration is required, but with a little planning, kids (and their caregivers) as young as 18 months to 3.5 years old can participate in the Little Learners class on Thursdays where they focus on a different animal and includes a craft, small snack and animal visitor. Check out the other classes available for younger (Stroller Safari) and older kiddos.

Sloat Blvd. and Great Hwy.
San Francisco, CA 94132
Phone: 415-753-7080
Online: sfzoo.org

Toddler Playgroup at AcroSports
Little ones can crawl through an LED tunnel, swing in hammocks and go through an obstacle course in this fun and colorful space that focuses on gymnastics, circus, dance and creative movement. Check out the Toddler Playground on Thursdays for an unstructured, parent participated play time. If you’ve got an older kiddo, drop-ins are available when there is space for any of the classes offered including Tumblecircus and Jr. Parkour. You’ll need to create an account and register beforehand in order to save that spot!

639 Frederick St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone: 415-665-2276
Online: acrosports.org

Digital Art Lesson at YoungArt USA
For a last minute, super cool activity for kids of any age, check out YoungArt’s art classes. Located in shopping malls around the Bay, this drop-in only studio lets kids walk in at any time of the day and put their paintbrushes (or digital pens) to work while you shop. Sessions are as short as 15 minutes or as long as two hours, depending on age, interest and ability. A caregiver must accompany kids ages 2 and younger, older kids can be dropped off.

Hillsdale Shopping Center (other locations available on website)
San Mateo, CA 94403
Phone: 650-554-9044
Online: youngartusa.co


Baby Yoga & Massage at It’s Yoga Kids
If some Zen is what’s needed to end the week, check out a class at the family-focused yoga studio in the Presidio. With classes for preschoolers all the way up to teens, the goal is to include the whole family in the benefits of yoga. Friday morning hosts a morning class for babies 12 months and younger with gentle movement, songs and massage that benefits the connection with your new little one. Registration is required for all classes.

569 Ruger St.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone: 415-750-9990
Online: itsyogakids.com

Musical Playgroup at Rockin’ Kids Sing Along
Bring the whole family to dance, sing and play at this drop-in only East Bay spot. Hosted by a licensed clinical social worker and former punk/rock singer and guitarist, Stephanie Pepitone takes everyone through a variety of musical activities. Whether it’s a jam session, finger plays, nursery songs in different languages, stories, or instrumental “petting zoo”, it’s always a good time at Rockin’ Kids Sing Along.

La Pena Cultural Center
3105 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
Online: rockinkidssingalong.com

Recycled Art Fridays at Habitiot Museum
Take recycled items to new levels at this award-winning East Bay children’s museum built for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Kids can create whatever they want, whether it’s a monster house or a space station with free materials like toilet paper rolls, plastic caps and Styrofoam blocks donated by StopWaste Alameda County. Afterwards, feel free to roam the museum with tons of space to play and learn.

2065 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: 510-647-1111
Online: habitot.org


Saturday Science at Randall Museum
Part of the San Francisco Parks and Recreation, this science, nature and arts museum has gotten a lot of buzz with its re-opening last year after a $9 million renovation. On Saturday mornings, kids can take part in project-based activities that bring the “WOW!” to science. Whether it’s building a rocket to launch or learning about polymers, it’s all about making learning fun. Themes include Scribble Bots, Air Science and Popup Planetarium, among others. As a bonus, participants are able to take their project home.

199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone: 415-554-9600
Online: randallmuseum.org

Family Yoga at Nandi Yoga
Nandi Yoga has a great kids program for those with little ones wanting to get more into the practice. While the more intensive program is being re-vamped, check out the family yoga class on Saturday morning. Focused mainly for ages 2-7, a certified yoga teacher will take you and your little ones through gentle poses and breathing exercises to calm the mind and challenge the body in a friendly and fun environment. Advanced scheduling is required.

309 8th Ave.
San Mateo, CA 94401
Phone: 650-343-9642
Online: nandiyoga.com

Family Art at Red Poppy House
Located in the Mission district, this “hub” for connecting artists with community has been able to live and grow with volunteers and donors that believe in the vision. Saturday afternoon is open to the public with the Family Art Program. This engaging, creative and best of all free event is meant to bring people together in the name of art. Volunteers bring out a variety of art supplies and organize different activities for kids, teens and adults. It’s a great way to meet new families and get creative.

2698 Folsom St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: 650-731-5383
Online: redpoppyarthouse.org

Mini Program at House of Air
If you’ve got an active 3-6 year old and a Saturday open, the Mini Program at House of Air is a good one to check out. The class leads kids in beginning gymnastics positions like pike, tuck and candlestick as well as obstacle courses at the big indoor trampoline park. It’s structured enough to hold kids' attention while having a ton of fun and definitely getting all that energy out. Grip socks are required and can be purchased on arrival.

926 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone: 415-345-9675
Online: houseofair.com


Splash & Dash at La Petite Baleen (depends on availability)
With 40 years under their belt, La Petite Baleen is a favorite for parents around the Bay Area. The swim schools are privately owned and have a custom built and designed swimming pool to give kids the best experience in the water. The Splash and Dash program lets enrolled and non-enrolled kids drop-in to any class in one of their four locations if there is a spot open and available that matches their age and ability. Just call up to seven days in advance to schedule!

434 San Mateo Ave.
San Bruno, CA 94066
Phone: 844-339-5015
Online: swimlpb.com

Story Time and Family Garden Walk at SF Botanical Gardens
The San Francisco Botanical Garden is already a beautiful, tranquil space to hang out, with 55 acres of landscaped gardens and around 9,000 different plants from around the world. On the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month, the garden hosts a story time in the library’s book nook followed by a docent garden walk to bring those stories to life. The event is free, with different themes like pollination, California plants and trees. Admission to the garden is free for all members and SF residents. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards!

Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture
1199 9th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: 415-661-1316
Online: sfbg.org

Family Fun Day at Asian Art Museum
From story times, museum tours and art projects, the 1st and 3rd Sunday of every month are dedicated to family fun. Developed and led by Art Speak interns, the immersive classes are meant to make art appreciation a friendly event for everyone. Themes and projects change regularly, so visitors can go again and again to learn something new. Be sure to check the age ranges for events listed for the best experience. Street parking is available and free on Sundays.

200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-581-3500
Online: asianart.org

—Sandra Lee

Featured photo: iStock


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