As the father of a 2-year old, Tim Alley found himself running around to playdates scattered throughout the Bay Area, scooting to toddler-friendly lessons in art, gymnastics, and dance. While he loved the programming, he wished that he and his daughter weren't confined to such a tight schedule. So, he turned to his brother-in-law, Tom Limbert, head teacher at a local preschool, and they began to work on their own children's studio at Studio Grow—a supplementary preschool atmosphere with a focus on unstructured learning where children can play throughout the day. True to its name, Studio Grow now welcomes tots at three area studios. Though programs and amenities vary by location, kids might frolic through a color-splashed dance room, construct crafty masterpieces from watercolors, play-doh, and crayons in an art room, or plunge into ball pits. At all three locations, kids can tinker in a room filled with puzzles, toy trucks, dress-up clothes, and lego building sets. in a slide-filled run room. Instructors stay on hand throughout each romp, ready to lead Berkeley guests through sing-alongs or immerse Concord’s small listeners in story time. Teachers may also balloon a giant primary-colored parachute over the playroom for kids to scurry under and use to shield themselves from sudden broccoli storms. Though staffers emphasize unstructured play, they also lead summer camps for children up to aged 6 with guided romps through the studio; as well as Friday-night babysitting sessions, where kids of all ages can play sans parents until 10 p.m.
Stomp! clobbers cravings with the one-two gastro-punch of an extensive global wine list complemented by a carefully constructed food menu heavy on small plates and high-concept American fare. Enjoy grape-loaded gulps of the Spanish white Nora Albariño ($9 per glass) or the Edna Valley Tolosa pinot noir ($12 per glass) on their own, or supplement your sips with an order of small-plate fare, such as stuffed eggs, which partner nature's most mouth-ready projectile with Serrano ham, capers, dijon mustard, and shallots ($4). Spicy shrimp empanadas tickle tongues alongside creamy avocado mole and crushed pumpkin seeds ($9), and an Italian sandwich ($8) uses prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, arugula, and aged balsamic to evoke the culinary cunning and gondolier-fueled sing-alongs of Italy without the lingering threat posed by rickety leaning towers. On Tuesdays, epicures and aerialists can sashay over the Stomp! threshold for Flight Night, during which— for a flat fee of $12—they can enjoy a trio of wines alongside artisanal meats and cheeses while making airplane noises or miming the waterfowl of their choice.
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." This simple motto on Spectrum of Science Foundation's website encapsulates the way the foundation's teachers help children learn to love science. Instead of being subjected to dry lectures and tiring moonwalks, students develop solar-powered craft, build geodesic domes, and raise their own carnivorous plants, thereby discovering for themselves how awe-inspiring science can be. After-school science labs, class visits, and summer camps use these fun-filled techniques to explore the hard sciences, including physics, chemistry, biology, aeronautics, and marine science. To ensure every student has a chance to learn about their world, Spectrum of Science Foundation also offers scholarships.
Pinot's Palette is less an art studio than it is a way for people to enjoy a libation-filled night out with friends, one that happens to include a painting project. The painting sessions evoke adults' inner artists whether they have any painting experience or not, encouraging conversation and good cheer while painting and sipping. Some locations feature a BYOB policy while others serve beer and wine from the bar. Each session features a predetermined painting?from flowers and animals to known classics such as Van Gogh's Starry Night?which each participant tackles from their own artistic angle under the guidance of an experienced instructor.
Students should bring: Water bottle, towel, and
comfortable dance sneakers.
Average class length: 60 minutes
Number of Staff: 1?5 people
Class location: Indoors only
Registration required: No
Good for beginners: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Music Together cultivates a warm, welcoming community of children and their adult counterparts in 45-minute music classes, which introduce developing brains to grooveable tunes with an accommodating schedule. A friendly instructor trained in teaching, music, and impersonating tubas leads up to 12 Beatles-in-training through structured musical explorations, helping little ones to test out rhythms on drums, keep time on triangles, and belt out songs. Newborns to 4-year-olds co-mingle in the same classes, creating an open environment in which younger tykes mimic social skills and musical talents modeled by the older children and adults in the room. Parents and guardians participate in the classes, sitting cross-legged on the floor with their mellifluous youngster, socializing with other adults and intermittently showing off their yodeling skills.