Right after my son’s first birthday I took a big leap of faith and stopped working full time so that I could spend the majority of my days with my baby. It was a big, scary decision and I was fraught with doubt and anxiety, but ultimately it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made.
After a few weeks of being a new stay-at-home Mom, I decided I needed to find ways to get us out and about. My budding toddler was learning something new and growing every day, and I wanted to fuel his brain with knowledge! I also wanted to provide him (and let’s be honest, me) with some social time with his (and my) peers.
What I discovered is that there are a ton of classes for kids who are in the 3+ age range, but not so much for younger kids. It forced me to do some digging, but soon we had at least one activity or class to attend every week day. Below are 4 of my ultimate favorites!
Music I & II at Gymboree San Francisco Center
We started with the Gymboree Music class and immediately were hooked on Gymboree! I loved that the structure of each class is the same but that every 3 weeks the curriculum changes to focus on music from different parts of the world. The teachers at this location are super friendly and great with little kids. They are also talented singers and musicians! My little guy learned about rhythm and the melodic scale and got to experiment with different instruments. The classes are 45 minutes but always fly by.
Gymboree offers classes for newborns to kids 5 years old. In order to take one class per week (and be allowed to play at open gym times) the price is $110 per month. You can also do a trial class for free! Get your trial pass here: https://www.gymboreeclasses.com/en/locations/CA/San-Francisco/pricing.html
Best classes in San Francisco
The Cuttlefish Swim program at the Pomeroy Recreation & Rehabilitation Center.
Babies as young as 6 months old (accompanied by a parent or guardian) can register for this delightful swim class. This is a very low stress, fun way to introduce your little one to water and water safety. Every class includes a sing along and some easy intro to swimming activities. These include assisting your little one with floating on their back and reaching for the sides of the pool. If you sign up for the 60 minute class the first 15 minutes are reserved for some free splash time in the pool.
The thing I like most about this swim class is that the pool layout is perfect for small kids. Because it’s designed for people with disabilities and/ or rehabilitating, there are many wide, shallow steps that lead into the pool. Their is also a low grade ramp. Toddlers can crawl along the steps or the ramp and splash around while being able to touch the bottom. The program provides fun little water toys and pool rings for the kids to play with while in class.
The pool is heated and filled with salt water, which is great. There is no sting of cold getting in or out of the pool, nor is there the sting of chlorine in the eye of your kiddo.
Classes are offered from Tuesday-Saturday, and range from $126-$144 every 6 weeks. Print a sign up sheet and learn more here: https://www.prrcsf.org/swimming.
Little Learners at the San Francisco Zoo
Once your baby is a year and a half, Little Learners is a really sweet little class. It gives your child a chance to interact with their peers while also learning about wildlife! Class starts an hour before the zoo opens so you are granted early access. After every class you go home with a neat art project and some new information about an animal. Fees are $15 per class for stroller safari and $25 per little learners class if you are a zoo member. It includes a parking day pass to the zoo. You don’t have to sign up for every class in the 6 week series, but if you do you also get 10% off! Get the scoop here (and check out that cute Mom and baby in the picture*): sfzoo.org/learn/childrens-programs.html#early
Simply Fun For All through SF Recreation and Parks
This was a really easy, fun way to spend an hour and a half once a week. We attended the class at the Sunset Rec Center where the entire gym was transformed into a play space for little kids. There was a bounce house, a play kitchen, toys, cozy coupes and little push along bikes, balls and books, and a soft mat area set up where kids could crawl. Most of the class time is reserved for free play, but the last 15 minutes is reserved for “circle time” where program leaders sing and dance with the kiddos.
Simply Fun For all costs $72 for 8 weeks, and it is offered at multiple recreation centers in San Francisco. Usually they also offer drop in rates if you just want to try one class out. Find out more here: https://apm.activecommunities.com/sfrecpark/Activity_Search/simply-fun-for-all/18149.
Adding these 4 classes into our week made our time together that much more special. It gave my son an early sense of routine while expanding his little baby mind. Now that my younger daughter is one, we are doing it all over again with her!
What classes do you love for babies in SF? Let me know in the comments below.
*That’s us! 🙂