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From dance to theater to cooking, there are toddler classes available for any and all interests in the city of San Francisco. Many are enrolling now for Fall sessions, take a look at the list I’ve compiled and get your little one signed up today!

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SF Tots

SF Tots Activity Hero

Photo Credit: ActivityHero.com

Locations: San Francisco Zoo (Lakeshore), Marina Green Park (Marina District), Mother’s Meadow Playground (Golden Gate Park), Upper Noe Recreation Center Athletic Field (Noe Valley), Hamilton Recreation Center (Pacific Heights), Mission Bay Commons Park (Mission Bay), Jackson Playground (Potrero Hill)

These active classes consist of story-based exercises that engage children while they work on advanced motor skills, team skills, and following directions. This is a parent participation class and I must admit that running around and kicking the ball with your child is energizing and fun. I love that each 10-week session concludes with a team photo that you can take home.

Cost: $195.00 – T-shirts are included in the class fee.

Site: sftots.getgalore.com


Play Haven

JAMaROO

Location: 245 Laguna Honda Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94105

Play Haven offers an opportunity for your children to play in a large space inside while you attempt to get some work done. Free play stations include painting and Play-Doh. Weekly classes are also offered. I recommend trying out the JAMaROO Kids Music and Movement class. This class incorporates stories, instruments, and lots of dancing. Watching the kids pretend to be frogs as they hop across the room is adorable and hilarious.

Cost: $10.00 per class for Non-Members, Free for Members

Site: playhaven.com


Gymboree Play & Music

Gymboree Play and Music

Location: 1503A Sloat Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94132

I’ve been biased towards Gymboree Play & Music thinking: Can a clothing company really offer decent classes for kids? Yes, they can! I’m so happy I got over my preconception toward Gymboree Play & Music and tried out their music class with my little one. The instructor we had was SO energetic and entertaining. The music classes give children the opportunity to play instruments, sing, and move around the room in fun and imaginative ways. The play classes also play music but focus more on games and exploring the large play structures in the play space. Bonus: This particular location is in a shopping center so there are plenty of free parking spaces available.

Cost: $95.00 every 4 weeks for one class per week. ($23.75 per class)

Site: gymboreeclasses.com


AcroSports

AcroSports.com

Photo Credit: AcroSports.com

Location: 639 Frederick Street San Francisco, CA 94117

Foggy, chilly San Francisco day? No problem! Little ones can get ALL of their energy out at an AcroSports class. Sessions run for 15-weeks and Fall enrollment just began August 20th. At AcroSports, kids can run, jump, crawl, swing, and climb. The very large indoor AcroSports multi-level space includes obstacle courses, a trampoline, LED tunnel, balance beams, a climbing wall, and hammock swings. Depending on your child’s age, their age appropriate class will help them work on spatial, directional, and body awareness, strength, coordination, flexibility and floor tumbling.

Cost: $300.00 per session, $22.00 per class for Drop-In classes

Site: acrosports.org


The Container Store


Little Learners at the San Francisco Zoo

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Location: Sloat Blvd at The Great Highway San Francisco, CA 94132

If you’re little one loves animals, these are the classes you need to consider. Each week a different theme and animal is featured. Upcoming themes include Wonderful Wolves, Springy Sifaka, and Sweet Squirrel Monkeys. During these parent participation classes your little one will create a craft, have a snack, and meet an educational animal visitor. After class, enjoy the zoo or head across the street to Ocean Beach.

Cost: Members: $25.00, Non-Members: $35.00. Class fees include zoo admission and a parking pass.

Site: sfzoo.org


Recess

Recess Sf

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 470 Carolina Street San Francisco, CA 94107

When I first saw one of the classes they offer, I couldn’t believe it. Recess offers a Toddler Chefs class! Little ones can do more in the kitchen than we give them credit for and this class demonstrates that. During this class little ones will be involved in preparing a meal or snack. Helping and learning to prepare something to eat will boost your toddler’s confidence and give them some independence.

Cost: Single classes are $30.00. When enrolling in the full series, classes are $25.00 each. Recess members receive a discount of up to 25%.

Site: recessurbanrecreation.com


Rabbit Hole

RAbbit HOle SF

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 800 Diamond Street San Francisco, CA 94114

Rabbit Hole is all about imagination. Classes offered focus on theater, dress-up, dance, story telling, and music. For example, The Treasure Box class begins with an object found inside the Treasure Box, the theme of the class is determined by this item. Next, the children explore a story based on the object by dancing, singing, and moving their bodies. Since His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman is my family’s favorite trilogy, I must mention that the Rabbit Hole also offers Day Camps, which like their classes have a theme. On Monday, September 3rd their Day Camp theme is The Golden Compass, the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. If not for my little one being too young, she’d be signed up!

Cost: $125.00 for 5 classes. $140.00 for Day Camp.

Site: therabbitholesf.com


Little Artistas

Little Artistas Hoodline.com

Photo Credit: Hoodline.com

Location: 667 Chenery Street and 1513 Church Street San Francisco, CA 94131

When it comes to arts, crafts, and language, Little Artistas is the place to be. Little Artistas offers classes, camps, and date nights. Classes are run in sessions and the Fall Session begins September 10th. Sessions run for 12 weeks and classes are held once a week. With their parents, little ones will be able to work on their fine motor skills and get messy with non-toxic art supplies. Bonus: The mess stays at Little Artistas, not at your house!

Cost: $300.00 per session.

Site: littleartistas.com


ODC Youth & Teen Program

ODC Dance

Photo Credit: Yelp.com

Location: 351 Shotwell Street San Francisco, CA 94110

One of the best dance studios in San Francisco offers classes for even the youngest movers and shakers. The Creative Movement classes for kids encourage individual expression in a nurturing and structured framework. Movements explored are age appropriate and complimentary to gross motor development. Little ones can participate in parent participation classes or begin to explore creative dance. Through creative dance young children develop coordination and confidence. In these classes, they’ll also begin to learn how to take direction within the context of a dance class. The Fall session beings September 8th and runs for 13 weeks.

Cost: Fall Tuition is $260.00.

Site: odc.dance


Which of these classes would be your little one’s favorite? We’ve tried almost all of them and have had fantastic experiences.

If your little one loves a class in San Francisco that’s not listed, please share it in the comments below!


Classes for Kids in San Francisco


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Painting is an activity all little ones already love. Today, let’s take the classic activity of painting and play with a “paint” that creates fluffy, soft dimensional art.


Fluffy Cloud Paint Supplies

First, you’ll need the following:

  • Glue
  • Shaving Cream
  • Blue Construction Paper
  • Paint Brush or Sponge
  • Bowl – I recommend a paper bowl for easy cleanup.
  • White Crayon – If you choose to outline your clouds.
  • Smock – This isn’t necessary to complete this activity, but it is recommended.

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Fluffy Cloud Paint Step One

Step One

Gather your supplies and if you’d like, suit your little one up in a smock. Mix equal parts glue and shaving cream in your bowl. I never measure when I do this, I just squirt in a bunch of glue and a big puff of shaving cream then mix. Your cloud paint is now ready.

Fluffy Cloud Paint in Action

Step Two

With the white crayon, outline clouds onto your blue construction paper for your little one to fill in with the cloud paint or let your little one paint the paper however they’d like.

Fluffy Cloud Paint Step Two

Step Three

Let your paintings dry and enjoy your new works of art!


Make it Educational

Just by doing this activity, you’re strengthening your child’s fine motor skills and allowing them to express themselves creatively.

To also explore texture with your child, have them gently touch the dry cloud paint to feel how soft and fluffy it is. Have them then touch a regular dry painting and talk with them about how different each one feels.


Clean Up

If using a paper bowl, toss it. Otherwise, rinse off your paint brushes, sponges, and bowl immediately after you’re finished painting. The cloud paint will rinse off easily if cleaned up quickly after you’re done using it.


Fluffy Cloud Paint Results

Share Your Art

Have fun creating clouds and please show me photos of your creations by posting them and tagging me #bayareabeautyblogger or @bayareabeautyb on twitter!


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Toddler Activities Fluffy Cloud Paint


 

Science for Kids Toddler Activities

Today’s toddler activity is scientific. Toddlers and science may not seem like 2 things that go together, but they can. This activity doesn’t require any fancy laboratory equipment or materials that you don’t already have in your pantry. This activity is quick to set up and pretty easy to clean up. Get your little one and let’s do this!


For this Toddler Activity, you’ll need the following:

Highlights Magazine Foamy Science Experiment Supplies

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I discovered this activity in the latest issue of Highlights High Five magazine. To get started, gather your supplies. We (I) decided to gather everything up and bring it outside. While this is a great rainy day activity, I’d recommend doing it outside on a warm sunny day if you can.

Set up your experiment by placing the muffin pan in the baking sheet, this contains the mess for easy clean up.

Step One

Pour a 1/4 cup of baking soda into each muffin cup in the center row of the muffin pan. Using the center row leaves room for the overflow of colorful foam coming up in a couple of steps. My muffin pan has 4 muffin cups in the center row, so total I needed 1 cup of baking soda for this experiment.

Step Two

Add 3-5 drops of food coloring into each muffin cup filled with baking soda. We did one color per cup, but you could absolutely mix and match colors. Based on the food coloring we had handy, we created one orange cup, one purple cup, one teal cup, and one pink cup. It should also be noted that we used gel food coloring for this experiment and it worked great.

Step Three

Slowly pour as much vinegar into each cup as you like and watch the colorful foam quickly bubble up! After one batch of foam subsides, feel free to add more vinegar to create more bubbles and keep the fun going.


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What’s happening here?

This experiment is based off of some super simple science (YAY alliteration). When vinegar and baking soda are combined, a chemical reaction takes place. One product of this reaction is carbon dioxide gas and that gas is what forms the fizzy bubbles.

The science behind this activity may be interesting to older children, but I kept the discussion much simpler when completing this activity with my little one. My little one is only about 2 and 1/2 so we focused on practicing her pouring skills, naming the colors we were using, and expanding her vocabulary (foam, science, experiment, liquid).


My little one loved participating in this science experiment and I hope your little one(s) enjoy it as well. If you do give this a go, please share your experience in the Share Your Thoughts! section below.

Have fun experimenting!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo by Wilson Hui

If you live in San Francisco already, you don’t need me to tell you how fabulous the city can be if you know how to seek out adventure. This is true for families too, it just takes some extra sleuth-like skills to find activities that will be fun for the whole family. There are extra considerations – longer outings require more planning, snacks and the extra-large diaper bag but those experiences can really enrich your toddler’s life and the way they view the world around them. As a parent, you also want to find events that aren’t going to break the bank (pre-school is on the horizon, and girl, that ain’t cheap).

With that in mind, here are some of the most unique and toddler-friendly places to explore with your toddler this summer.


Transportation options:

San Francisco is famous for its cable cars. One-way trips are $5 and you can purchase a day passport to travel around the city at your leisure. You can also ride a trolleybus or streetcar. The San Francisco Public Transport site is a great place to begin your trip planning.

If you’re driving and want to avoid thirty minutes in the car looking for parking, check out these interactive parking maps to find streets with free or low-cost parking, as well as timed parking and garage parking.

1. Pretend to be tourists for an afternoon

Sometimes, even the most familiar place can become brand new when seen through a new perspective. Go on a real adventure with your child by challenging them to pretend they are in a new place. What would they look for? What do they notice?

It’s also a great opportunity to learn more about the city you live in every day. Most ‘touristy’ activities involve the history of the city you’re in, and San Francisco is no exception. For an afternoon in the sun, here are some places where you can become the daring explorer out to learn all they can.

Chinatown:

Wander through the numerous alleys of the oldest Chinatown in North America and check out the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie factory. Have tea and try some Dim Sum at one of the more than one hundred Chinese restaurants in the area. Great way to try new foods with your toddler, if they’re feeling adventurous!

Pier 39:

This unique pier features street performers who perform daily and an abundance of sea lions (mostly during the winter, though). You can ride the Italian hand-crafted San Francisco Carousel and blink at the 1,800 twinkling lights. Perfect for a family photo op.

Aquarium of the Bay:

Located right near Pier 39, this gigantic aquarium is home to more than 20,000 marine animals, including sharks! Naturalists help explain the exhibits while they share fun facts about the various species on display. The aquarium offers a local discount that brings the cost down from $16.95 to $14 for children between 4-12 and from $26.95 to $23 for adults.

Golden Gate Park:

Botanical gardens, museums, and a free shuttle service can all be found at this gigantic 1,017-acre park. It has multiple park areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, archery fields, horseshoe pits and a Frisbee golf course. Admission in to the park is free, while the Botanical Garden costs $7 for adults and $15 for families (2 adults and 1 or more children). Cost for kids under 5 is free.

Fisherman’s Wharf:

Enjoy some chocolate at Ghirardelli Square nearby at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Learn all about San Francisco’s seafaring history at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.  The park is home to several historic ships and is run by the National Park Service.  Tickets are $10 for adults and kids 15 and under are free to tour the ships with adults.

2. Head to the beach

Beaches are a main attraction in San Francisco, even on cloudy days. Baker Beach is known for spectacular views of the Golden Gate bridge (bring your camera). You might even see porpoises if you arrive early! Or if your little one loves to climb, explore one of the Cliffside hikes on the Coastal Trail.

Ocean Beach is a three-mile long stretch of sand and dunes with paved walking trails. Strong rip tides make it not safe for swimming. The white sand of Stinson Beach is popular with boogie boarders, windsurfers, kayaking and families (with areas safe for swimming).

3. Explore the ballpark on a Sunday

SF Giants Stadium

Photo by Shawn Reza

After every Sunday day game, weather permitting, kids under age 14 can run the bases and pretend to be baseball stars themselves. If your child would like to get an authentic signature from a San Francisco Giant, Sunday is the Giants official autograph day, where players, coaches and alumni will sign autographs (from the Bullpen Boxes in Sections 104/105 and 126/127) after the end of batting practice.

There is seriously no better time to catch a San Francisco Giants game because there are rare $3 discounted tickets available on Groupon. They don’t offer free tickets for children, and kids 24 months or younger are required to sit on the lap of an adult, so this deal is a steal.

4. Share some culture at a museum

When you’re travelling with kids, you want activities that are fully immersive. Luckily, San Francisco’s children’s museums are all about interactive experiences. Enjoy an afternoon at The Walt Disney Family Museum or Children’s Creativity Museum, or head to the Exploratorium. Each of these museums boasts unique, exploration-heavy experiences that will help your toddler expand their mind while giggling and having fun. It’s great for both of you to learn something new together and can help create vivid memories that last for years to come.  


Author Bio: Sam Casteris is an avid traveler and aspiring travel writer. She writes creative pieces about travel, informational articles for other travelers, and guides to make travel as stress-free as possible. Her home base is in Phoenix, AZ.

Mickey Mouse Arts and Crafts for Toddlers

Today’s toddler activity features the Darice Disney Family Crafts Tissue and Foam Kit. Kits are by no means necessary to create family crafts, but they do simplify things. No prep is required, just purchase this kit and you’re ready to craft. This kit has a great price, it’s only $2.99. It comes with everything you need to quickly create a Mickey Mouse Tissue and Foam craft.


For this Toddler Activity, you’ll need the following:

  • Darice® ©Disney Family Crafts Tissue & Foam Kit, Mickey Mouse
    • From what I can find, this is no longer available online, but you should be able to get it at your local Michael’s. You can check in-store availability here.

Instructions are included with this kit, but I’ll do a little run down of how we completed this activity in my own words.

First, we started by taking all of the supplies out. Immediately, my little one got her hands in there and was ready to create.

I couldn’t even take a picture of the kit’s packaging without her being eager to bust it open!

Disney Mickey Foam Arts and Crafts

After we got everything organized, we popped out the pieces of black sparkly foam that weren’t part of the final design.

Then, I slipped the red and silver metallic ribbon through the pre-cut hole between Mickey’s ears.

Disney Foam Arts and Crafts

Playing peek-a-boo with Mickey after popping out the extra foam pieces was adorable and entertaining!

Disney Kids Arts and Crafts

Next, I peeled the white backing off of the black sparkly foam to reveal the sticky side. This is where we applied the tissue paper squares. The kit provided neatly cut tissue paper squares in yellow, white, red, and blue.

Soon, we couldn’t see Mickey at all, he was completely covered in tissue paper squares! We spun Mickey around and voilá, our project was nearly complete.

Disney Mickey Mouse Toddler Crafts

This was not listed as a step in the instructions that the kit came with, but I decided to cut off the excess edges of tissue paper sticking out around the sides of Mickey’s outline. This gave the project a cleaner look.

Tissue and Foam Toddler Activities

This would probably look best hung in front of a window, letting the sunlight shine through the colored tissue paper. I decided to hang it from a door knob in my little one’s playroom so she could take it down and look at or play with it if she wanted to. If she doesn’t seem interested in interacting with it, I will move it higher, but still keep it somewhere on our French doors.

This craft was so easy to make! I’d recommend picking up this kit, and others like it, next time you’re out-and-about for whenever you need a quick and mess-free activity. Personally, I love having extra kits like this one on hand so I always have an activity ready to go.


Have fun creating with your little one!

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