Time to graduate your little babe from the land of the living room to the real world? We’ve found a bunch of delightful classes and programs for babies and toddlers that will enrich young minds through song, nature outings, sign language, yoga and more. From adventures in classes that run the gamut from music and gymnastics to sea creature story times, read on to learn about the latest and greatest classes for tots––and book your kiddo’s spot!
Little Learner's Club
The New Children's Museum's Little Learners Club is a 6-week, early childhood enrichment class for littles (ages 18 months-3 years) and their caregivers. This program is an opportunity to strengthen your little one’s fine motor skills as well as expose them to art and creativity.
The Museum's newest session is called Little Artists! Get creative in the classroom and discover the joy of creating alongside your little one. Classes will be led by artist and educator Kristina “Miss Piggy” Mananquil.
This 6-week session takes place on April 15, 22 & 29 and May 6, 13 & 20 from 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Click here for more information and to register.
Birch Aquarium's Toddler Time Series
Birch Aquarium recently launched a Toddler Time series that includes music, storytime, art and animal encounters! Enjoy Toddler Time every other Weds. morning from 10-11 a.m. Kids ages 2-5 will be enchanted by the fun and engaging events that will highlight ocean science exploration and pique curious minds. Each Toddler Time event will feature a different theme presented by either a special guest, or an aquarium instructor. Parents are encouraged to participate in the activities.
The next classes in the series are:
Apr. 10, 2019: Music, Movement and Stories with Kathryn the Great
Apr. 24, 2019: Little Aquarium Artists Beginner Painting Exploration
Kids must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver during Toddler Time activities, which are included in the cost of aquarium admission. Tickets are $19.50 for adults, $15 for kids (3-17) and free for ages 2 and younger.
Toddler Tuesdays With Seed & Song Music + Yoga
Om your way to a more peaceful 2019 at Toddler Tuesdays with Seed & Song Music + Yoga classes. This hour-long morning class includes live music, mindful movement, active music making and enriching experiences designed to promote the development of your little one's social, physical and language skills and emotional well-being. The classes' curriculum is designed by board-certified music therapists, yoga teachers and mothers, to allow you a family space to grow together.
Classes are for kids ages six weeks-three-years-old and they take place at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in Normal Heights on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.
$145 for all 8 classes + Guest Pass + Free Egg Shaker. Register here. Drop-in classes/$20
San Diego Youth Symphony ChIMES Program
The ChIMES program by the San Diego Youth Symphony is playing your little one's tune! ChIMES stands for: Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles, and it's designed for kids from infants to age 5. Classes provide meaningful music-making experiences that encourage family bonding, at-home learning and pave the way for future musical development. These interactive classes develop motor and aural skills by incorporating singing, movement, rhythm activities, hands-on instrument play and lots of fun. Classes often feature guest musicians and families might learn about the French Horn one week (and get up close to touch it and see how it works) and the next week they might watch a young violinist or cellist come in to demonstrate their instrument and play a few tunes.
Good to know: Babies are welcome! Although this program welcomes all young kids up to age 5, it's extremely popular with the “baby crowd.” ChIMES is one of the only music classes around that allows and encourages participation from families with very young babies. It offers a great way for new moms to get out, bond with their baby and meet other parents.
Seasonal sessions (6-8 weeks) of 45-minute classes are offered in Balboa Park for parents/caregivers and their 0-5 year olds.
Info on upcoming classes and current sessions can be found at: sdys.org/chimes.
Free Forest School of San Diego
There's no greater teacher than Mother Nature and little kids absolutely love basking in the splendor of the great outdoors. Join in the fun of San Diego's Free Forest School so your tots can unplug and enjoy some carefree childhood moments reminiscent of the good ol' days of your youth.
Spending time with your toddler can be a walk in the park, literally. Your kiddo will love classes like mud play or bubble time. Even more, you'll love that it's at your local park. Led by a group leader these classes encourage meeting friends, exploring nature and just plain old fun. Let your little one tinker in the outdoors today.
Cost: $135+ for 6-8 week sessions
Classes at Parks in the Carlsbad area. Check online for a class near you.
If I Was a Bird Toddler Yoga
Put a little om in your outing with your budding yogi with a class at this kid-friendly yoga studio. Classes for tots warm up with an art project, continue with yoga poses, song and movement. Then wind up with a healthy snack. Your tot leaves happy, calm and full.
Cost: Introductory class, $20
Locations: Flower Hill Promenade, Uptown Hillcrest, and Liberty Station
Baby Sign Language Class
For wee ones just walking, but not quite talking, sign language is great to learn. Classes are fun and interactive with reading, songs and playtime to help you and your little learn sign language. Even more, there are tips and tricks about incorporating signing outside of class. Further, little ones meet new friends who inspire learning. If you want to check it out before signing up for a class, attend a library storytime for free!
Cost: $145/child for 7 weeks of signing
1947 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92102
Parent & Child Gymnastics
The Dan McKinney Family YMCA offers parent & child gymnastics classes on weekday mornings. Your minikins can have the run of the gym at this toddler only session. While Disney classics play overhead, they’ll be able to jump, roll, swing, climb, balance and dance through activity stations like the trampoline, obstacle course, mini balance beam and swinging rope. With a bouncy floor, staff on hand and moms and dads playing with their kiddos, you’ll be assured your kids have a fun and safe time.
Cost: Free with membership
Hours: Weekdays, 10-10:40 a.m. (in the gym)
8355 Cliffridge Ave.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Toddler Art at Pachis
If you have a mini Picasso on your hands, set him/her on the right artistic path at Pachis Art Studio for Kids. Located in Liberty Station, Pachis offers classes and camps that encourage kiddos to embrace their creativity and explore their artistic expression. Pachis offers a toddler art program for little ones age 18 months to 3 years. Pint-sized artists enjoy stories, sharing snacks and participating in process art activities that promote play, discovery and social development. Each class is based on parent participation (bonding time!).
Cost: $400 for 11-week program (Price will be prorated, so you can join any time).
Class time: Weds. 10:30 a.m.-noon
2820 Roosevelt Rd.
Suite 102, Bldg. 201
San Diego, CA 92106
Toddler Time at The New Children's Museum
The New Children’s Museum is THE place to take your toddler if you want a guaranteed fun time. Beyond super toddler time sessions, the Museum boasts three floors of interactive exhibitions, play areas, craft stations, a chicken pen, an expansive outdoor organic garden and even an oversized kitchen sink the kiddos can play in! On Friday mornings the museum hosts toddler time – a one hour activity session designed for kiddos ages 4 and under that supports a healthy mind and body with music, movement and social play. Each week is different to keep things new and fresh, but you’ll be able to find things like Finger Painting Friday, sing-a-long sessions, toddler yoga and sensory exploration play classes. Parking can be found on the street or check out the museum’s parking garage for a $10 fee.
Cost: Free with $14 per person entry fee ages 1 and over
Hours: Daily, 10:30-11:30 a.m. (except Fridays)
200 West Island Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
Young Scientist Program at The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
If you have a budding scientist on your hands, then the Young Scientist Program at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center may just be the thing for you. This four-week program is designed to help mini science lovers (and an accompanying mom or dad) check out the scientific wonders of the world. Sessions are held around the museum and include an hour-long exploration into earth checking out water, plants, seeds, rocks and landforms. There’s also an adventure into astronomy investigating planets, moons, stars and rockets, a mighty meteorologist breakdown where you will learn about measuring weather and wet, sunny and winter weather. Lastly, there’s a cool kids chemistry lesson with radical reactions, states of matters and mixtures. Classes include access to the Fleet’s awesome exhibits and galleries so you can stay and play after the formal learning ends. The program is best suited to mini Einsteins, ages 3-5 years-old.
Cost: $75/session for members, $85/session for non-members
Hours: schedule changes; check online
1875 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101
YMCA Pee Wee Sports
The YMCA loves working with kids, but don’t just think that means your school-aged kiddos. The YMCA Pee Wee Sports Clinics and Leagues are especially designed for toddlers 3 and up. Held at more than 10 locations from East County, up north, all the way to the sea and down south, you can choose from a variety of classes like basketball, soccer, t-ball, football and track and field. Your active little ones will discover the basics of the sport all the while learning about sportsmanship, building confidence and of course having some good old-fashioned fun! You’ll love that participation is the name of the game, effort is praised over ability and it is most definitely a competitive free zone. Classes are separated by age and held at a variety of times and days so you’ll be able to choose what’s best for you. Non-members are able to participate but you’ll need to pay a slightly different rate. Check individual class listings for age recommendations, times and costs.
Cost: From $42/members and $56/non-members for one month
Hours: Mon. – Sun.
Various YMCA locations
Dance Classes at Dance to Evolve
For some toddlers, there's nothing better than shaking to the beat, twirling those arms in the air and spinning those tootsies around. So if dancing is their thing, then check out the dance classes at Dance to Evolve. Classes range in dancing styles from a combination of ballet and tap to a parent participation class to an urban hit of hip hop. Lessons are a short-attention-span friendly 45 minutes and include a mixture of games and exercises to make learning fun. There are locations throughout San Diego County, including Point Loma, UTC, Poway, Tierrasanta and Scripps Ranch and they’re scheduled at a range of times so you’ll be sure to find something that works with your nap/school/making it work with siblings schedule! If you aren’t sure if your tiny dancer is going to want to get into the groove, you can schedule a free trial lesson before you enroll for a term.
Cost: From $153 per session (varies by location and schedule)
Hours: Check website for class schedules
Yoga Story Time at The Library
Your local library is a treasure trove of free classes, activities and resources perfect for keeping busy toddlers minds and bodies active. Take for example the yoga story time at the Allied Gardens/Benjamin Branch library. Kids will be able to transform into a stretching monkey, a downward dog or a silly elephant as they partake in an hour long session of stories and songs matched to yoga poses and breathing. Plus, your yogis will benefit from learning about being mindful and calm. Classes are geared towards toddlers ages 2 and up. No registration is required and a mat isn’t necessary (unless you want to bring one).
Hours: Weds., 3-4 p.m.
5188 Zion Ave.
San Diego, CA 92120
Music Fun for Little Ones at Nightingale Music School
What tot doesn’t love dancing around to fun music, playing with puppets, jamming with instruments and playing with bubbles? Nightingale Music combines all those awesome elements into an 8-week class for toddlers (they also have classes for infants and preschoolers too). Each week, class participants learn new songs, play instruments, participate in games and dance together, all while enjoying the magical world of music. Each session is themed differently. “Hooray for the Holidays” is a theme from Oct. – Dec. Other themes include “Spring Has Sprung,” “Mother Goose Rock-N-Rhyme,” “Splash Into Summer” and “Jungle Jive.” The session fee includes all classes (and a make-up day), CD, songbook and final gift.
Cost: $160/session (they prorate too)
Hours: Varies by location
5631-C La Jolla Blvd.
La Jolla, CA 92037
8060 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91942
1947 30th St.
San Diego, CA 92102
—Lenya McGrath, Nikki Walsh & Beth Shea