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Books for Tiny Humans

Even before my tiny human was born, I started his book collection by asking for books at his baby shower. I’ve enjoyed engaging him with a variety of different types of books throughout his infancy. Now that he is a young toddler, I love seeing how he interacts with books in new ways.

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Below I will provide some San Francisco story time options, as well as my recommendations for different types of books that are best at each stage of development.

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Play Space Review: Peek-a-Boo Factory

Peek-a-Boo Factory

2 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127

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I took my tiny human to Peek-a-Boo Factory when he was crawling and starting to pull up on things. He actually learned to cruise using the balance beam on his second visit!

Pros:

  • Separate space for crawlers and young toddlers
  • Large toddler climbing apparatus
  • $6 Last Hour of Play which is great for little ones who get worn out quickly

Cons:

  • Older kids are often in the younger area
  • Gets pretty crowded on weekends and especially on rainy days

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Play Space Review: Early Explorer’s Cove at California Academy of Sciences

Early Explorer’s Cove

55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

One of the very first outings I took my infant on was a trip to the Cal Academy to visit the aquarium, but it wasn’t until a few months later that I learned about the Early Explorer’s Cove. This is a wonderful place for toddlers and preschoolers, and I think crawlers also can do very well here.

Pros:

  • Has a great animal, nature, and science focus
  • Capacity is strictly limited so it never feels too crowded
  • There is a platform treehouse with multiple types of steps and a bridge
  • Toys and books are rotated seasonally

Cons:

  • Overall smaller footprint than most play spaces
  • Very small infant section that can often be disorganized

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Playground Review: Elinor Friend Playground at San Francisco Zoo

Elinor Friend Playground

Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132

Pros:

  • Separate areas for toddlers, preschoolers, and older children
  • The toddler section is fenced in
  • Infant swings are available in both the toddler and preschool sections
  • Lots of fun themed climbing structures
  • Adults can play with their toddlers on the preschool section climber and on larger slides

Cons:

  • Even on sunny mornings the playground equipment can be very wet
  • A lot of the area is unshaded
  • Some small structures seem like they should have movement but don’t

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Weekend Activities for Young Toddlers

Once a tiny human turns 18 months old, there are a few additional classes that now become available to them. As a working parent, I am always looking for weekend classes that I can enjoy with my tiny human in order to broaden his horizons. I provide more detail on these 18+ month weekend activities below.

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Play Space Review: Play Haven

Play Haven

254 Laguna Honda Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94116

I waited to visit Play Haven until I had a toddler who just started to walk, as the environment seems best suited to me for toddlers and preschoolers.

Pros:

  • Separate low-wall surrounded space for infants
  • Can see the whole space fairly easily
  • Large multi-activity art studio setup
  • Variety of age appropriate toys and activities

Cons:

  • Not as many climbing or gross motor based play structures
  • Day pass required for entry
  • Gets somewhat crowded on weekends due to birthday parties

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Play Space Review: Recess Urban Recreation

Recess Urban Recreation

470 Carolina St, San Francisco, CA 94107

I first took my tiny human to Recess when he was 8 months old. I visited as part of the Golden Gate Mother’s Group (GGMG) monthly weekend free play. I have returned for many similar visits as he has become a young toddler.

Pros:

  • Separate gated space for crawlers and new walkers
  • Large variety of age appropriate toys and activities
  • Offers a variety of classes and other services for parents
  • Has toddler friendly snacks for sale

Cons:

  • Layout of the larger section can create trip hazards
  • It would be hard to watch kids in both sections at the same time
  • Membership or day pass typically required for entry
  • Sensory lab not open during GGMG weekend play hours

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