Just when we thought we’d exhausted all the ways to entertain kids for a few hours—from the best indoor play spaces to all the kid-friendly museums—the recently opened Craft Bar in Woodland Hills comes along and mind blown. Read on for the details on this DIY creative spot for little ones, plus discover five more awesome kid-friendly LA art studios with drop-in hours.
File this Woodland Hills studio under: "Why Didn't We Think of It First?" The ingenious Craft Bar is like fro-yo spot Menchies, but instead of scoops of sprinkles or cereal, they've got bins of colorful beads, buttons, bows and more. Those art "toppings" can be used to adorn any number of "base" items, including canvas totes, frames, tees and hats. You also have access to either markers or paint to decorate your project. For little ones, there's even a Toddler Bar, with crafts geared toward little hands. And the owners, a mother-daughter duo, and they're staff are on hand to help out. Craft Bar is open Sun.-Thurs., from 12:30p.m.-7p.m.
Cost: $10 for up to 5 basic toppings, plus the cost of your base (premium toppings cost extra)
23241 Ventura Blvd., #111
Cr8space Art Studio & Creativity Workshop
Got a few hours to kill between school and dinner or on the weekend? Head to this cheerful NoHo spot, which offers open studio hours almost every day of the week. (Check the online calendar for exact times.) Kids as young as 3 can enjoy one special art project (like decorating their own dinosaur magnets or creating a masterpiece on canvas), along with unlimited unlimited access to basic supplies, including thousands of beads, shrinkable plastic (for DIY Shrinky Dinks), paint and brushes, markers, stamps, tape, feathers and more. While parental supervision is required, the helpful staff is on hand to help guide and inspire kiddos.
Cost: $25 per child for 3 hours (includes all materials); buy a package of 4 sessions, get 1 free; or buy 7 sessions, get 3 free
10542 Burbank Blvd.
Meri Cherry Art Studio
When you've got a name like Meri Cherry, you're bound to do something fun and creative. That's the case for the former teacher-turned-owner of this kids art studio, whose name is indeed Meri Cherry. Every Tues., 3p.m.-5p.m., she invites little ones, ages 3 and up, to explore the "atelier," choose their own materials, tinker around and make the kind of mistakes that might just turn out to be masterpieces. After all, Meri Cherry calls itself a "process art" studio, which means it's all about the making and doing, not the finished product.
Cost: $20 per child; buy 6 sessions for $100
17060 Ventura Blvd.
Looking for a way to spend your Saturday? Head to this Eagle Rock art space, which offers open studio hours from 10a.m.-2p.m. Each month, Purple Twig features different materials, such as string for weaving or clay for sculpting. You're invited to stay as long you like during 4-hour window as you and your kiddo tinker around with cardboard, fabric, paint and more.
Cost: $17 per child; $30 for two; drop-off for ages 5 and up for $35 for up to 2 hours
2038 Colorado Blvd.
This music-and-art studio has two different drop-in options for your mini Matisse. First, there's Messy Art, a parent-and-me painting session for kids, ages 3-5. You and your little one will get smocks, easels and materials to create your masterpiece. Messy Art is available Mon., Tues. and Sat., 10a.m.-12p.m., and Fri., 10:45a.m.-12p.m.
Another drop-in option at PLAY? Stories and Art on Thurs., 10a.m.-11:30 a.m. The session is open to all ages and begins with a story reading followed by a chance for little ones to create art inspired by the colors, themes and images in the book.
Cost: $14 per child; purchase an Art & Play Card to get 5 drop-in visits for $60
5814 W. 3rd St.
Family Art Studio at the Skirball Cultural Center
You probably already know about Noah's Ark at the Skirball, but the museum is also home to the Family Art Studio, which regularly features different projects inspired by current exhibits. The emphasis here is on reusing materials (just like all critters created for Noah's Ark), so kids can get creative in an eco-friendly way. Drop in any time during regular museum hours.
Cost: Free with admission ($12 for adults, $7 for kids 2-12)
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd.
-Kim Orchen Cooper, LeTania Kirkland Smith & Shannan Rouss