Looking for a little creative inspiration for your kids this summer? Add some hands-on art to your must-do list with these classes that encourage little Picassos to let their creative juices flow. Many are free or are included as part of admission to a museum; for most of them you don’t even have to make reservations in advance (because let’s be frank, that’s a little ambitious for the summer). Best of all, you’ll avoid having to be on clean-up duty!

photo: Anita Chu

Third Haus, San Francisco

This amazing and unique creative studio just moved to a new, larger space in the Mission. Third Haus is a paradise for dreamers and creators alike, with a full array of the latest tools and technology from digital drawing tablets, 3D and laser printers, to traditional building materials and art media. The trained, enthusiastic staff all have art backgrounds and assist kids with almost any creative project they can dream up, from writing and illustrating their own comic book, to painting a watercolor mural, to 3D printing and assembling a building model. You can drop into themed classes during the week, or open studio on the weekend if you have your own project in mind. They’re also offering two week-long summer camps around a variety of themes.

Location: 455 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA
Hours: Open studio 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun
Online: third.haus

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Little Tree Studios, Marin

This creative spot in Marin offers a variety of art classes for all ages, from from painting to sewing to sculpture. This summer they have drop-in classes for ages 2-5 on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings (parent supervision required), and for drop-in open studio time for ages 2-13 on Friday afternoons. In addition, they offer also after school classes, summer camps and drop-off movie nights.

14 Ross Ave.
San Anselmo, CA
415-295-7037
Onlinelittletreestudios.net

Saturday Studio at De Young Museum, San Francisco

The de Young has always been a hot spot for families who love to enjoy and make art together. On Saturdays, Family Art Making, a drop-in art project led by a local artist, is included with your admission. Projects change every 3-4 weeks and are typically inspired by a current exhibition. The de Young also offers after school and summer art camps; check the website for details.

Golden Gate Park
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
San Francisco, CA
415-750-3600
Online: deyoung.famsf.org

I Heart Art, Pleasant Hill

I Heart Art is a studio that encourages kids and adults to explore their creativity through a wide array of arts and crafts projects. It's is an oasis for children and their parents seeking a safe, energizing and beautiful place to enjoy an art experience in a nurturing environment. There are many ways to experience I Heart Art, including drop-in open studio time Tuesdays through Saturdays, where a variety of different projects will be set up around the space for you and your kids to choose from. Check the website for typical projects being offered and specific times.

15 Vivian Dr.
Pleasant Hill, CA
925-602-0140
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Sat.
Onlineiheartartstudio.co

photo: courtesy of Museum of Craft and Design

MakeArt Family Day at Museum of Craft and Design, San Francisco

MakeArt Family Day occurs on the first Saturday of every month; events feature tactile materials introductions for toddlers, guided activities for kids, gallery tours and in-gallery hands-on projects for families. Check for upcoming workshops here.

2569 Third St.
San Francisco, CA
415-773-0303
Hours: Saturdays, times vary, please check website for details
Cost: Included with admission cost of $8/adults, $6/students and seniors, 12 and under are free
Onlinesfmcd.org

Art Studio at Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito

You can make art every day of the week at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. The Art Project is available all day for anyone to stop by and get inspired with a project that changes every two weeks. Artists ages 3 and up will love Art Lab where they get to explore various techniques and mediums. In the Local Artist Spotlight, kids ages 5 and up will explore a specific artistic technique through a project inspired by a professional artist. Inspirational, indeed!

557 McReynolds Rd.
Sausalito, CA
415-339-3900
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
Cost: $14.95/general; $13.95/babies 6-12 months. Free admission the first Wednesday of every month
Onlinebayareadiscoverymuseum.org

photo: Andria Lo

Art Pushcart and Drop-in Art Studio at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco

Sunday is the day to make a stop at the CJM for some hands-on art making for all ages. On the first and second Sundays of the month, the drop-in art studio features a teaching artist to help you and your kids experiment with different art techniques and materials. If you are there one of the other Sundays of the month, look for the roving Art Pushcart that’s full of games, materials and questions meant to inspire visitors.

736 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA
415-655-7800
Hours: First and second Sundays of the month, 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Cost: Included with admission cost of $14/adults; kids 18 and under are free
Onlinethecjm.org

photo: courtesy of Asian Art Museum

Family Fun Day at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Leave the country without ever having to go to the airport! On Family Fun Days, the Asian Art Museum offers kid-friendly tours, storytelling hours, and creative art projects. Immerse yourself in Asian art and culture with a constantly changing selection of art activities. Check the website for the next Family Fun Day.

200 Larkin St.
San Francisco, CA
415-581-3500
Hours: Every 1st and 3rd Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cost: Included with admission cost $15/adults,$10 seniors and teens; kids 12 and under are free
Onlineasianart.org

photo: Angela Drury

Second Sunday at Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center, Palo Alto

When you have one of the world’s most prestigious universities in your backyard, you play in your backyard! Every second Sunday is family-focused at the Center. Your family will enjoy tours, hands-on art projects, independent sketching and special programs such as storytelling, book readings, and movie screenings. Bonus perk: You can also sign out an art pack from the main lobby front desk. Stocked with themed activities, colored pencils, and sketching paper, you can encourage your Baby Buonarroti to create amongst the greats.

328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA
650-723-4177
Hours: Second Sundays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: free
Onlinemuseum.stanford.edu

photo: MIssion Cultural Center for Latino Arts

Exploring Art for Children at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, San Francisco

Explore traditional Latino art and techniques every Saturday using textiles such as clay, flour, paints and paper cuts. Think paper mache and those big, bright, beautiful paper flowers we see all over the place during Dia de los Muertos, and so much more! The class is geared towards children between ages 5-12.

2868 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA
415-821-1155
Hours: Saturdays 11 a.m. -12 p.m.
Cost: $10
Onlinemissionculturalcenter.org

photo: courtesy of Habitot

Art Studio at Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley

Drop in anytime during museum hours to visit the art studio at Habitot. The focus here is on the process, not the end product, and nowhere is that more evident than on your child's paint-speckled clothes and smiling faces. Choose between Clay Play (think GAK and scissors) and Mixed Media (think coffee filters and glitter). Don't fret over the inevitable mess, as apron—and clean-up—are provided and all materials are non-toxic!

2065 Kittredge St.
Berkeley, CA
Spring/Summer Hours: Mon.-Thu., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. (Sun. parties only.)
Cost: $12/person, under 1 are free
Onlinehabitot.org

photo: courtesy of The Randall Museum

Afternoon Art at The Randall Museum, San Francisco

Design, craft then play with your very own yo-yo or top, turn a simple game of connect-the-dots into a layered oil pastel painting, make wallets and medicine bags—even mix and make your own paint! Yes, we are talking about the Randall Museum. Catch all of these excitingly artful opportunities at Afternoon Art Saturdays. Register at the front desk when you arrive. Activities are geared towards kids age 3 and up.

199 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA
415-554-9600
Hours: Saturdays, 1-3:30 p.m.
Cost: $10 adult/child combo, $5/each additional person
Onlinerandallmuseum.org

Art Loft at Children's Discovery Museum, San Jose

Stop in anytime during museum hours to take advantage of the wonderful array of materials from which to create your own unique piece of art. Although you'll walk away with something fun, the end product isn't the goal here—it's all the mess, creativity and learning that happens along the way! Art projects offered include, but aren't limited to, sculpture, printmaking, painting, drawing and collage.

180 Woz Way
San Jose, CA
408-298-5437
Hours: Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun, noon-5 p.m.
Cost: $15/person, under 1 are free
Onlinecdm.org

photo: courtesy of Young Art USA

Young Art Lessons, Various Locations

With four Bay Area locations, you will want to run, not walk, to these fantastic drop-in art classes! They offer art lessons to your kids while you shop, eat or take a coffee break. The concept is easy. Your child tells the instructor what they want to draw, the instructor walks them through drawing step by step and teaches them how to paint. Voila! Your little artist has created a masterpiece! Read our full review here.

Hours: Vary by location
Cost: $14.95/15 minutes, $21.95/30 minutes and up.
Bundle Options: $110/4 hours
Online: youngartusa.co

—Anita Chu, Sabrina Martire & Kate Loweth