After spending all summer chasing big siblings around, your toddler is finally king of the castle, at least until it’s time to hit the school pick up line. It also means you have some long mornings to fill, with no built in playmate. Make the most of special one-on-one time with these awesome activities tailor-made for tots.
photo: Neil Apodaca
Make A Mess
There’s nothing quite like letting your kids make a big mess, without having to clean it up. Your little explorers can get their hands messy getting creative and experiencing some fun sensory activities at these unique spots. At Outside The Box, babies as young as 8 weeks, up to 3 years can take part in multi-sensory classes that include art and music components and work on the gross motor skills. From diving into a baby pool full of noodles, to exploring their space with paint and bubbles, tots are guaranteed a messy good time.
If your tot is a budding artist then run, don’t walk to the Toddler Class at the brand-new Meri Cherry Art Studio. All the classes at Meri Cherry are process-based, which means it’s more about the fun of creating, than the finished project. Your toddlers will have a blast building wood towers with shaving cream spackle or using water balloons to paint on a giant canvas.
Outside The Box
20841 Ventura Blvd.
19237 Ventura Blvd.
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
LA has so many amazing museums, but some are a little more toddler-friendly than others. While the big kids are away, pay a visit to the spots that kids start to age out of once they hit grade school. At the Zimmer Museum babies and tots can give their imaginations a workout pretending to be everything from airplane pilots to ambulance drivers. They can put on a stage show, play with their shadows, or dive into a ball pit. There is tons to explore and they also offer a slate of classes, but the best part is the museum is small enough that it can all be done in a morning so you can still make it back to pick up the big kids in time.
Your mini adventurer can go wild with the animals at Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Center. Tots can explore all the hands-on exhibits, like creating thunder and making a wolf howl, or climb around in the maze-like netting made to look like the ship’s interiors. Don’t miss the regularly scheduled music circles in the back hall, where kids can jam out with various acoustic instruments.
Zimmer Children’s Museum
6505 Wilshire Blvd.
Noah’s Ark at Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
photo: Charles C. via Yelp
Jump Up, Jump Up
What better way to get all those wiggles out before nap time than with a bounce on a trampoline, or a giant room full of them. Though an indoor trampoline park can get a little chaotic when big kids are in the mix, at Sky Zone’s Toddler Time your tiny bouncers can jump around without worry. A two-hour morning block from 10 a.m.-noon is reserved exclusively for kids ages 5 and under. Toddler Time is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at the Torrance location, and Tuesday and Thursday in Van Nuys.
Torrance and Van Nuys locations
photo: David Urabe
While the big kids are hitting the books, your pre-readers can jump into stories to build their skills at story time. With puppet shows and interactive playtime built in, the Santa Monica and Beverly Hills Libraries offer some of the best story time programs in the city. LA Public Libraries have a ton of options too, depending on your local branch.
Beyond the library, there are some other great programs that offer unique story times. Local book lover and author, LABookMom hosts free story times at various locations around Mar Vista, like the Grand View Market, where you can grab some breakfast while your tots listen to a few tales. Books and Cookies in Santa Monica offers a few different story time classes, including a Movers and Shakers class that incorporates music and movement for little bookworms that don’t like to sit still.
Santa Monica Public Library
Beverly Hills Public Library
444 N Rexford Dr.
Books and Cookies
2309 Main Street
photo: Pamper & Play
Treat Yo’ Self
When you have both big and little kids, it can be impossible to find any downtime for yourself, so why not kill two birds with one stone and enjoy a little me time while your little ones play. At Pamper & Play your tykes can have a blast playing while you enjoy a break. Relax in the parent lounge with free coffee and Wifi and get some work done (aka catch up on your Instagram feed), while your tots explore the fully-supervised playspace, dance to music, create art, get read to, and make new friends.
2279 Westwood Blvd.
Where do you like to take your littles to play when their big sibs are off at school? Share your favorite spots in the comments!