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.
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.
2 W Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127
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!
- 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
- Older kids are often in the younger area
- Gets pretty crowded on weekends and especially on rainy days
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.
- 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
- Overall smaller footprint than most play spaces
- Very small infant section that can often be disorganized
Elinor Friend Playground
Sloat Blvd & Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94132
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
- 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
- Not as many climbing or gross motor based play structures
- Day pass required for entry
- Gets somewhat crowded on weekends due to birthday parties
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.
- 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
- 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