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FREE Ongoing Kids Programs Bookmark and Share

Many museums, public libraries, parks, stores, and other activity centers around the bay area have great kids programs free of charge or free with admission. Take advantage of these programs this summer!

Museum Programs for Kids

  • Intel Museum:
    Year around free classes for kids (usually 3rd grade and up). Summer program: "Sizzling Semiconductor Summer for Grades 3-6" is free 45 minutes program. Drop in on Monday, Wedbesday, Friday and Saturday between 10am and 4pm. "Fabulous Fabs", "Keeping It Clean", "Sensational Circuits", and "Code and Conductivity".
  • Habitot Children's Museum (Berkeley): Drop-In Art Studio, daily, free with admission
    Open-ended art experiences including mural painting, clay programs and mixed media opportunities

  • Triton Museum of Art (Santa Clara):
    Family Art Days, free community outreach events held on Saturdays offering families an environment to create art and explore the galleries.

  • Museum of Children's Art (Oakland):
    Drop-In Art Studio, Tue - Sun, Free with admission (or $7 per child)
    story time and art activity, first Saturday of every month, FREE

  • Hiller Aviation Museum (San Carlos)
    Soar with Books - Preschool Reading Program for 3-5 yrs olds, every 4th Saturday at 11am, Free with admisssion
    Young Eagles - Kids between ages 8-17 fly free, every 3rd Saturday of the month, FREE

  • Rosicrusian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium (San Jose), free with admission
    1st Saturday of the Month:  Ancient Egyptian Mummies
    1st Sunday of the Month: Ancient Egyptian Jewelry
    2nd Saturday of the Month: Ancient Egyptian Cosmetics
    2nd Sunday of the Month: Egyptian Oils and Perfumes
    3rd Saturday of the Month: Games and Leisure in Ancient Egypt
    3rd Sunday of the Month: Artifact Exploration
    4th Saturday of the Month: Scavenger Hunt
    4th Sunday of each month: Wonders of Mesopotamia
    Sundays, 11:30am: Introduction to Hieroglyphs

  • Zeum Museum (San Francisco): Hands-On Art Workshops, every Saturday, free with admission, advanced reservation recommended

  • De Young Museum :
    Big Kids/Little Kids and Doing and Viewing Art -- Tours of current exhibitions are followed by studio workshops taught by professional artist-teachers. Program meets 10:30 a.m. to noon (general public) and 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. (museum members only) and are appropriate for children ages 4 through 12. Saturdays, free with admission
    FREE: Art after-school classes at De Young for children in 1st through 8th grades. Wednesdays, 4:00–5:30 p.m. Reservations required. Call (415)750-3658

  • Contemporary Jewish Museum: Drip-In Art Making. every Sunday 1-3 pm

  • AquaTots at Acquarium of the Bay (San Francisco), 2nd Friday of each month, free with admission
  • Also see "FREE Museum Days

Park Programs for Kids

Store Programs for Kids

  • Children's Story Time at Kepler's bookstore every Sunday morning at 11:30am.

  • Borders Santana Row: storytime every Wednesday & Saturday at 1pm in children's section.

  • Treehouse In The Glen: On the second Saturday of every month, Treehouse in the Glen presents a very special Multicultural Storytime. Join us as storyteller, puppeteer, and Master Waldorf teacher, Njeri McGillicuddy, delights young and old with stories and puppet shows from around the world.

  • Lakeshore Learning Center: free crafts for kids. Ages 3 and up, every Saturday 11:00 - 3:00, every store!

  • FREE: Home Depot Kids Workshops (throughout Bay Area), 1st Saturday of month

  • FREE: Mommy & Me and Daddies Too (Westgate Mall), 2nd Wed of each month. Mommy & Me at Santana Row, every Tuesday from May to Dec.

  • Simon Kidgits Club at Stanford Shopping Center: once a month kids events

Libraries always have various FREE kids programs, check out your local library calendar for details:

  • Vineland Branch Library, San Jose
    • Wednesdays (3:30-5pm): Wii Program

  • Evergreen Branch Library, San Jose
    • Wednesdays (4-5:30pm): Wii Program
    • Monday @ 4pm: movie

  • Hillview Branch Library, San Jose
    • first Friday of every month (3-4:30pm): a family movie and free snack

  • Joyce Ellington Branch Library, San Jose
    • every second and fourth Friday of the month: a family movie and free snack
    • every Tuesday @ 6pm: Chess Class
    • every Wednesday & Saturday: Aztec Dance

  • Sunnyvale Library
    • Tuesdays (11am): Baby Lapsitand Stories for 1's
    • Wednesdays (11am): Toddler Story Time (ages 2-3.5)
    • Mondays (11am): Time for Tales (ages 3-5)
    • Thursdays: Preschool Story Time for 3,4 and 5 years old. Various sessions. Participation by lottery. See library website for details.
    • Every third Wednesday (4pm): Manga/Anime Discussion Group for teens.
    • Every other Mondays (3pm): Yarn Day for teens
    • FREE: Fun on the Run by City of Sunnyvale
      Arts & Crafts • New Fitness & Nutrition Activities • Games & Sports For students grades 1-5 • Snack Provided! Space is limited to the first 60 participants and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

      Monday (2:15-4pm), Fairwood Elementary
      Tuesday (1:30-3:30pm), Nimitz Elementary
      Wednesday (2:15-4:15pm), Nimitz Elementary
      Friday (12:45-3:30pm), Ellis Elementary

  • Mountain View Library
    • FREE preschool program (three semesters a year. Registration for Spring begins on March 16. Details )
      • Thursdays (10:15-11am): Young 2's (2 yrs old)
      • Thursdays (11:45-12:30pm): Terrific 2's (3 yrs old)
      • Wednesdays (10:15-11:15 am): Stories Plus (4 yrs old)
      • Tuesdays (10:15-11:45am): Reading Readiness (5 yrs old)
    • "BABY STEPS UP" (FREE 4-week program of music, movement, stories and learning games for ages 18-24 months and their parents. Offered during February, Mar and October)
    • FREE Saturday Drop-in Programs (Saturdays, 10:15-11am. Books, music, movement and crafts for ages 3-6)
    • Story with Wayne (2nd Saturday of every month, 2-2:30pm)

  • Los Altos Library
    • Afternoon Family Movie is shown the 2nd Saturday of the month in the Los Altos Program Room at 2:00 PM.

  • Menlo Park Library
    • Wednesdays (10:15am & 11:15am): Toddler Storytime (ages 2-3)
    • Thursdays (11:15am): Preschool story time (ages 3-5)
    • Tuesdays (7pm): Family Story Time
    • Mondays (11:15am) & Fridays (10:15am): Baby story time (1-23 mos)

  • Palo Alto Library
    • Mondays (10am & 11am): Toddler Storytime, at Children's Library
    • Tuesdays (10am): Preschool story time (ages 3-5), at Children's Library
    • Fridays (10am): Toddler Storytime, at Mitchell Park Library
    • Fridays (11am): Preschool story time (ages 3-5), at Mitchell Park Library

  • Los Gatos Library
    • Fridays: storytime for ages 12-24 mos at 10:30am; infant to 12mos at 11:30am
    • Tuesdays (4-5pm): Children's Knitting Group

  • Santa Clara county library story time schedule
    (Including Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Saratoga)

  • Fremont Library
    • Preschool Storytime for ages 3-5 (registration required)
    • Homework help for grade 3-6
    • Preschool Storytime English/Mandarin or English/Hindi
    • Drama for grade 4-8 (registration required)
    • Friday Tween Films
    • Toddler time
    • Movement and music
    • Baby Bounce Storytime
    • ...
    Programs vary from month to month, check library web site for details.

  • Pleasanton Library
    • Wednesdays (7-8:30pm): Book Clubs for Grades 4-5 & 6-8 (registration required)
    • Monday Mornings: Toddler Laptime (ages 18-36 months)
    • Friday (10:30 am or 11:30 am): Storytime for ages 3-5
    • Tuesday (7pm or 7:30pm): Paws to read
    • Wednesdays (7pm): Stories & Songs for families (English & Spanish)

  • Santa Clara county library kids programs

  • San Jose Library Kids Programs - the best kids program by public libraries

  • Summer: many public libraries have "Be Creative @ Your Library" summer reading program for kids, sign your kids up, it's free! Some libraries like Sunnyvale and Mountain View also offer various shows, games & other great creative programs.

Other Programs

Updated on 7/15/09 with more museum, park programs.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 February 2010 )