While staring into those gorgeous baby eyes never gets old, new parents do in fact get the urge to leave the house. When you need something stimulating, these classes pull triple duty. They carve out beautiful bonding time for the two of you, they keep the stir crazies at bay, and you just might meet some friends that will last a lifetime – for you both.
photo credit: The Zimmer Children’s Museum
crEATe at the Zimmer
The first thing babies do is put everything in their mouths. And here, it’s ok! In this edible art class, your little ones will develop fine and gross motor skills by exploring artistic techniques with a yummy twist: the materials are organic and edible. Think fruit pop painting, noodle play and veggie sculpting. You’ll learn ways to recreate the activities at home, too.
Ages: crawlers – 24 mos
Cost: $10 plus museum admission for drop-ins, $60 for session of 6 weeks
Location: The Zimmer Museum, Miracle Mile
photo credit: KidSwim
Parent & Child Swim Lessons with KidSwim
Water safety is extra important in the land of beaches and swimming pools, and you (literally) can’t start them too young. This is a no-brainer of a bonding experience, as it’s fun for both babies and parents, and boy, does it feel good when it’s warm out (which is most of they year). Here you’ll learn how to hold your child in the water so that both you and she feel safe and comfortable, as well as teach your baby to kick, blow bubbles, jump in and climb out of the pool, float and glide.
Ages: 6-30 months
Cost: $20/parent + child per lesson
Location: Multiple pools around town. Or they’ll come to you for private lessons in your pool.
photo credit: Orit Harpaz
If you’re at home with more kids than just a new baby, this mixed-age, music and movement class is perfect. Welcoming for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and parents, the music here draws from a variety of cultures, genres, and traditions, and helps kids explore music and moving at their own pace. We love that you can grow with this class, take your older siblings if you need to, and stick around for drop-in art activities after class.
Ages: 6 months – 4 years
Cost: $240 for a 10 week session, with discounts for siblings.
Location: Play on 3rd in Mid-City LA
photo credit: cianc via Creative Commons
Mommy & Me (Daddies too!) at Golden Bridge
Baby yoga classes are popular around town, and this is one of our favorites. The class is a chance for parents to get some real exercise, while relaxing (sometimes new parents need the reminders to breathe, and yoga is great for that!) dancing and playing together. In this class, the kids are by your side as you stretch and strengthen. Then the kids join in for their turn with movement, coordinated with songs, dancing and brain development exercises. We also highly recommend the Aquarian Family class at Ra Ma Yoga in Venice and the Baby & Me class at Silverlake Yoga.
Ages: 6 weeks to 3 years
Location: Golden Bridge in Hollywood & Santa Monica
photo credit: saltaylorkydd via Creative Commons
Moo Moo Musica
We’ll get to how much kids love the class in a minute, but first we have to praise how perfectly this class understands parents. There’s a class every day of the week. You can buy a series of classes, but you don’t need to take them once a week or even on the same day of the week. The price is the same for the whole family (a blessing for parents of twins or multiple littles under 4), and there’s no restriction that requires one parent per child, as there are at many baby classes. Moo Moo Musica is a multi-language music, dance, and play class that stimulates motor and social skills – as well as messages and experiences that support ecology and community. And it’s there for you when you need it.
Ages: babies to 4 years old
Cost: $17 per class (per family, however many kids you have!). Keep an eye out for special $10 classes that pop up frequently. Your first class is free.
Location: Electric Lodge in Venice
photo credit: Antonia K. via yelp
This space wins for the most fun room for kids! We have two fave classes here. Baila Baila Bebe is a Spanish immersion music class that we love because it gets your brain working again (that infamous Mommy brain comes by it’s reputation honestly). And we also love the Sing and Sign Babies class that helps parents learn to communicate with babes when their typical communication is a wail. A bonus from taking any class at Zooga Yoga is that kids get used to coming here. As soon as they’re potty trained, you can take advantage of the Parent’s Night Out and get date night back on the calendar!
Ages: 6 weeks -2 years
Cost: Drop in classes are $22. We really recommend starting with the $50 for one month of unlimited classes. This way you can test out all the classes and pick the one that’s the best fit for your baby.
Location: Zooga Yoga in Culver City
New Mom’s Group at The Sanctuary
This is less of a class and more of a gathering. If you don’t have an active Mom’s group in your immediate neighborhood, this is a wonderful starting point for brand new parents to re-engage in the world. Bring you baby and hang out with other new parents who have questions and stories to share and commiserate (there’s lots of poop and sleep talk). This is perfect when you don’t feel like exercise or play, but you want to snuggle with your baby and connect with each other, and other parents and babies. If you want a fabulous one-time class, we also recommend taking the Baby Massage workshop.
Ages: newborn to six months.
Cost: $15/class or 5 meetings for $50
Location: The Sanctuary in Mar Vista
photo credit: Ladybug Music
We have to include these two time Totally Awesome Award winners! The focus here is on playing a diverse and eclectic music that parents will enjoy, as well as kids, (Reggaeton jams to Appalachian lullabies, Surf punk ditties to Brazilian beats) so that everyone looks forward to class. Kids learn about pitch, tempo, melody and rhythm and use their bodies and voices to make music. Parents go home with a CD of the music, and the tools to keep learning and teaching music at home.
Ages: baby to 4 years old.
Cost: You can take a free demo class before sessions start. A session is 10 weeks and is $240 per child, $140 for additional siblings.
Location: With classes at 6 locations from South Pasadena to Hollywood to Santa Monica to the Valley, there’s probably a Ladybug Music near you.
The Pump Station
Of course you know about the Pump Station – it’s your first stop for nursing and baby gear. But it should also be one of your fist stops for classes. They offer several Parent and Me classes led by different instructors, as well as specific groups for dads, twins, first time parents and second time parents. They also offer classes in music, fitness and books for babies. If you’re not sure where your interested lie, but you’d like to meet other moms and dads and spend some bonding time with baby, a great place to find a class that fits your needs is the Pump Station. (And if you’re a new and overwhelmed parent, you can also take some great workshops here on breastfeeding, infant massage, CPR or getting baby to sleep.)
Ages: Ages vary by class, from newborn to 4 years.
Cost: Prices vary depending on class and location.
Location: Locations in Hollywood, Santa Monica and Westlake.
photo credit: Wondertree’s facebook page
Music & Signing at Wondertree
Music & Signing is the most popular class they offer at Wondertree, and we can see why. The class teaches parents the basics of American Sign Language to babies started signing at an early age, which means you can communicate before they’re verbal. With play, music, instruments and other developmentally appropriate activities, your tiny tot will learn to talk to you (and set you straight) at a very young age. There are all types of props used in the classes: musical instruments, drums, parachutes, scarves, guitar, piano and bubbles, so if you’re thinking that a language class is too rigorous (and not fun) for baby, think again!
Ages: 6 weeks to 10 months
Cost: $25 per drop in or $79 for a month of once a week classes. You can sign up to take your first class here for free.
Location: Wondertree in El Segundo
Do you have a favorite class to take with baby? Chime in, in the comment section below.