Habitot Children's Museum

Rating: 4.9 stars   77 reviews

Issues:

Location: Pmb 326 1563 Solano Ave Berkeley CA 94707 USA

Mission: Habitot’s mission is to help the broad community of parents and caregivers raise curious, creative and confident children. Hands-on exhibits and programs focus exclusively on early childhood.
Programs: * Hands-on Exhibits Six permanent exhibits and one temporary exhibit encourage imagination, curiosity, problem-solving, social interaction, communication skills and parent-child connection. Exhibits include Waterworks, Little Town, Wind Tunnel, Infant-Toddler Garden. The current temporary exhibit is the Rocketship 80,000 visitors a year * Public Programs include three dozen multicultural events and performances throughout the year in music, art, dance, performance, storytelling and puppetry. Special Family Literacy Nights foster reading readiness and Child Safety events help prevent unintended accidents among young children. 10,000 participants a year * Art Programs include a drop-in Art Studio (included with admission) with changing daily activities, an Art Reach program taking arts to low income community preschools, and on-site focused art classes for children in ceramics, mixed media, and painting. 45,000 beneficiaries * Parent Education includes an in-museum Family Resource Center of books and other parenting references, 50 parenting classes a year on topics ranging from CPR and chokesaving to positive discipline strategies, and Parent-to-Parent brochures on parenting topics 5000 direct beneficiaries * Family Outreach Program designed to make Habitot's exhibits and programs available to a wide audience, especially low-income families and at-risk children. We offer free field trips to Head Start and state-supported preschools, free admission days, subsidized memberships, class scholarships, teen parent programs, book give-aways and organizational and library memberships for clients of social service agencies, hospital programs, homeless shelters, literacy programs, and teen parent programs. 8,329 direct beneficiaries
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

In the safe fun enviroment, Habitot even offers me a moment of reading through their educational hand outs, toy recall info, or simply sipping tea while my child is having a great time playing there.

Daily/weekly art project they offer is also mind-opening, giving parents a new view of using everyday material to make things fun for kids.

Habitot offers Camps and parents night out which my son always has so much fun that it is exciting for both of us to apply.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My son learned a lot to share toys with other chileren. I got most updated info on toy recalls. I was reminded basic parenting skills and info which encouraged me well.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

With the current capacity of Habitot, I cannot think of anything....it will be nice to have windows and A/Cs.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My wife and I have had our son's 1st and 3rd birthday parties at Habitot, and clearly we've found it to be an excellent place to host our friends, and for young children to play and learn. The exhibit space is modest in size, compared to some larger children's museums, but it is very well designed and thought out. Our son looks forward to going to Habitot every time. He's had alot of fun there for several "Parents Night Out" drop-offs (the rare dates my wife and I can manage in our busy lives, and w/o grandparents or other family living in the area). He also participated this past summer in a couple week-long "summer camps" (4 hours/day), learning and exploring science, and interacting with children and adults from outside his preschool/day care. Great experiences all around, and I'm very proud to be a supporter and fan of the museum.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

birthday parties; Parents Night Out; summer camps; volunteered as a Board member

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help it find more of an audience and more funding.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

fundraising

What is its top priority in the long run?

exploring alternative venue options

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

My 14 month old enjoys the activities at Habitot so much, I wanted to see how I could become more involved to help this great organization thrive and be available for future generations. I recently joined the Board of Directors to help Habitot continue the good work it currently does!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Becoming involved with the Board of Directors and working with other great volunteers to help the organization grow.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would like to see the organization find a space that would allow it to offer more activities

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Rating: 5 stars  

When we first moved to the area two years ago, it wasn't easy to find activities appropriate for a 15-month old so we were thrilled to discover Habitot. It has been fun to watch our son's interests in the museum exhibits evolve over time, but he still has his favorites. What a great place for early childhood play and development!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The growth of my child

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Have it be open longer hours.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Amazing atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and amazing exhibits for young children. I took my friend's two young children here when babysitting one day and they loved it. There are many opportunities for free admission and involvement such as safety classes and parenting workshops that are beneficial for everyone to know. I have been to the museum about 5 times now and always have had a wonderful experience.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the attitudes of the children while at and after the museum. They often ask me to take them because they enjoy it so much and they are learning so many things at once that I love taking them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand. Both in exhibits and target audience. They have such an amazing grasp on early childhood needs and behaviors, I'm sure they have a wealth of knowledge for young grade school children as well.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot is such a fantastic place to take young children to. It allows them to explore and play in ways that are not normally available to this age. The art area is warm and welcoming and messes are encouraged. The water play area encourage exploration and experimentation. The changing exhibits are educational and age-appropriate.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My children engage in the world around them differently.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase the hours!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I had the opportunity to rent the museum out for my sons 4th birthday. What an amazing experience. The staff was fantastic and the intimate experience of sharing the museum with their friends and family was something we all enjoyed.

This is a special place to introduce young children to - a place that changes the way they see things, and through their eyes how you see learning and growing all over again....

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As a parent and as a board member for two years. Habitot touches the lives of so many children and their families.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Find more fundraising support in order to expand. An outdoor area and additional space for exhibits tailored to 5-8 year olds would be allow for further exploration opportunities.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

How did you learn about this organization?

Word of mouth

What is this organization's top short-term priority?

Supporting programs critical to children of low income families

What is its top priority in the long run?

Capital raising for new facility

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Rating: 5 stars  

My 2 yr old grand baby LOVES Habitot! It is ideal for his age group, as it provides free choice of a variety of educationally stimulating, creative activities, while engaging in side by side play and beginning sharing and social opportunities for this age group. Parents, grandparents or caregivers shadow their young ones, nurturing them, helping them as needed, and encouraging social skill support as needed. Additionally, the friendly, very helpful and positive staff facilitates the various activities, including art, the inexpensive "store", the toy lending library, the snack area, et. The care that goes into the staff's initiatives is seen in the beautiful choice of colors and textures used in the art activities, the special classes offered in music, cultural celebration, etc., I am so grateful to Gina and all the staff at Habitot for providing such a rich, affordable experience consistently for our very young, most precious toddler population.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Participating with my grand baby at least once weekly. Habitot provides an important niche, as this age group benefits more from parallel play and unstructured activities where the toddler can choose to move freely from one play station to another.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Open another branch in Alameda where I live!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The art station, including the huge canvas, great tempura color choices, and super home made play dough activites.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Friendly, nurturing, knowledgeable and helpful when needed.mm

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Duplicate itself in one or two additional locations in the Bay Area.

Ways to make it better...

I love it as is.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Maintaining staff needed for a high staff to toddler ratio.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Thank you for all you do for providing an extremely important community educational resource for toddlers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

Habitot is a wonderful environment for young children to have the opportunity to explore their environment freely and safely. I went with a family whose child typically has a very difficult time with transitions into new environment. Upon arriving at Habitot, he just eased right in, and started exploring each of the play areas on his own - with a BIG smile on his face! Their warm and welcoming, kid-friendly decor made all the difference!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that they have made such a huge difference in the lives of many at-risk children and families, both with and without special needs, by reserving their weekday afternoons specifically for other agencies to bring their families in for a free day.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

(if given adequate funding) like to see a few more play areas for younger children, and expanding their space to accommodate more people.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their openness and willingness to help meet the unmet needs in the community, by partnering with local agencies to provide a safe haven and friendly staff to host "free days" for at-risk families and their children.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Warm, friendly, and welcoming

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve more people in the community and touch many more lives with their wonderful program

Ways to make it better...

longer hours opened to the public

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the shortage of funding to turn many more of their wonderful vision into reality

One thing I'd also say is that...

this place is truly a small glimpse into heaven for young children and their families

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-6-01

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

This is a great place for young children and parents. The staff are helpful and attentive to individual needs. I am a case manager for a transitional housing program. Habitot let us bring some of our families for a free day of play and parent child interaction. This was a wonderful opportunity for our children to enjoy new experiences and for the parents to observe their children in new situations and observe and learn some much needed parenting skills.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

By observing the children and their parents express their personal creativity, imaginations, and play-fullness.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

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