To manage your crazy schedule, you don’t have to use a lifeline. Just download KangaDo, the free app for iPhone and Android. The app helps busy parents tap into a micro community where you can set up and manage your kids’ activities, from carpool to childcare to play dates on the go. Yes, it does take a village. But this one fits right in your pocket.

One day they’re covered in glitter and glue and the next they’ve transformed your kitchen into a science lab. If your kids will try anything once (but may have a lingering case of the “can’t decides”) give a drop-in class a try. Drop-ins don’t usually require registration and never make you commit long term. Here are six of our favorite drop-in classes in San Diego.

Art Soup

Photo credit: Leah R. Singer

Art Soup
Does your little one love to get artsy, but your cringe at the thought of paint and glitter hitting your home (oh, the glitter!)? Art Soup is the perfect place if you’re looking for a drop-in art studio for your little artist. For a mere $12 drop-in fee, Art Soup provides a spacious studio, paint, chalk, canvases, glitter and everything else your kiddo needs to unleash her inner Picasso. The drop-in price includes access to all the supplies, a VW Bug that kids can paint (yep, you heard right), and kids can take home up to four projects. Art Soup is open for drop-in play Monday through Friday. The open hours vary by day, so be sure to check the online calendar before getting in your car.

191 N. El Camino Real
, Suite 203
Encinitas, Ca
Online: artsoupsd.com

Wacky Science Sunday with Ms. Frizzle
Kids can explore the wild and wacky world of science with Ms. Frizzle every Sunday at the San Diego Natural History Museum. In two exciting shows at 12:15 pm and 2:15 pm, Ms. Frizzle will teach little scientists about crazy creatures, fascinating habitats, and wacky science. The classes corresponds with the monthly theme, which means every week features a different activity (perfect if your kiddo asks to come back again and again). Start the new year sweet with January’s theme of chocolate. February focuses on whales, March welcomes spring with a bee theme, and April is all about decomposers. The admission prices for Wacky Science Sunday range from $11 – $17, which includes admission to the entire museum.

1788 El Prado
Balboa Park, Ca
Online: sdnhm.org


Photo credit: The New Children’s Museum Facebook page

The New Children’s Museum
It’s true you could just go to the New Children’s Museum for the displays and to play. But beyond that, the Museum offers drop-in classes and activities for kids of all ages throughout the day. There’s a Papermaking Studio where kids ages 3 and up can repurpose junk mail and magazine to create handmade paper. The Clay Workshop allows little sculptors of all ages to design their own clay cupcake gift or mix a batch of colored clay-dough art. Speaking of clay, the Clay Dough Workshop has kiddos ages 3 and up mixing, measuring and making colored clay dough. There’s also a DIY Food Truck where little builders (ages 3+) use wood, tape and markers to construct a miniature vehicle to drive around to sell food. The workshops are all included in the Museum admission price of $10. Be sure to check the daily schedule posted near the Museum’s welcome desk for workshop times, or call before arriving.

200 West Island Ave.
Downtown San Diego, Ca
Online: thinkplaycreate.org

Lakeshore Learning Crafts for Kids
Most parents know Lakeshore Learning stores as the place teachers buy their supplies. But the store also hosts Crafts for Kids every Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. No reservations are needed and it’s free! Each week features a new craft for kiddos ages 3 and up. Upcoming activities include Chinese New Year dragon puppets, love-to-read bookmarks, picture frames, heart-shaped card holders, and jester hats.

7510 Hazard Center Drive
Mission Valley, Ca

702 Center Dr.
San Marcos, Ca
Online: lakeshorelearning.com

java mama

Photo courtesy: Java Mama Facebook page

Java Mama
Sometimes mama needs a latte with her kiddos’ drop-in play classes. Java Mama offers coffee and treats for moms, as well as classes for babes. Kids sing and dance during Silly Sing Along every Saturday at 11 am. Features songs include favorites such as Hokey Pokey, You are My Sunshine, 5 Little Monkeys and more. Silly Sing Along is free with a $3.50 play pass and is perfect for toddlers and kids ages 3 and younger. If your little dancer wants a bit more structure, drop in to the Dance To EvOlvE free class on the second Friday of each month. This class is best for kids ages 1.5 to 4 years. And don’t worry about buying dance gear because a dress code and dance shoes are not required.

9880 Hibert St.
Scripss Ranch, Ca
Online: javamama.com

Spanish Village Art Center
Spanish Village Art Center is located in the heart of Balboa Park and is known for its diverse community of more than 250 artists from throughout the region. Besides amazing art work to browse through, the Center also offers ongoing pottery classes for kids every Saturday from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Little sculptors ages 6 and up will learn about clay and make their own masterpieces. Registration is not required and classes are $20 each.

1770 Village Place
San Diego, Ca 92101
Online: spanishvillageart.com

What drop-in classes do your kids love to attend? Let us know in the Comments section below. 

— Leah R. Singer