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Habitot Children's Museum

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Children's Museums, Family Services, Human Services

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

Community Stories

118 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I began taking my kids to Habitot when my oldest was becoming a toddler over one; she is now 9. I have watched my girls grow with the museum and learn to explore that greater side of themselves. Whether it's through the fire truck exhibit or the water play, they joy I see in their eyes when at Habitot excites. Habitot reminds me of the importance to connect with your creativity and innovation. It has been an important part of my life as a parent and what fueled me to become more involved in the organization.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My almost 4 year old daughter and I love Habitot. We go there almost weekly. The staff is great there and they use their small space very well. Our favorite area is the art studio. My daughter can focus there for over an hour doing one creative project or another. Thank you Habitot!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 1st visit to Habitot was in 2002 when my daughters were 2 & 3 (now 15 & 17). We fell in love with this place! They played pretend Dr. - dressed in white lab coats, partnered to exam a baby girl, and even read xrays! The pictures priceless! They then moved on to the painting area and made these poster size paintings which I still have hung up as art work! I loved the idea and the results so it became mandatory for my children to make a poster painting for my keepsake. I've returned today with my 7-year-old son who in 2010 made his 1st poster painting and had his priceless firefighter photo shoot! Today, he painted his 2nd and my almost 2-year-old (on June 19) made her 1st poster painting. I've been coming to Habitot for 14 years and this place never gets old. My Family & I will forever LOVE HABITOT!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HABITOT for all Families! Your children will get to explore, learn, and enjoy this museum. I'm sure I'll return with my grandchildren!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I was recommended to visit Habitot from a dear friend and absolutely fell in love. As I walked in the door, I felt the joy of children exploring and playing. Gina Moreland, the Founder and CEO, toured me of all of the exhibits and shared countless stories of the positive effects Habitot has had on Bay Area communities over the past 18 years. I was most impressed by hearing how active Habitot is in engaging families of all backgrounds including multi-lingual and multi-ethnic families, foster and homeless families, as well as middle and upperclass families. Habitot offers affordable fees for all families and even hosts parent workshops to make sure everyone knows the positive effects of early literacy, socialization, and play in the growing brain. Habitot goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone feels welcome and a safe space in their discovery museum.

After my visit, I was so moved that I joined their Board of Directors and look forward to helping the museum expand their reach in serving kids and families in the Bay Area and move into their brand new building in a few years.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Habitot is one of the most unique and special children's museum. They make sure that ALL families, regardless of their income, ability, ethnicity, or background, are able to experience learning through play. I was so inspired by their campaign to give birthday parties to kids experiencing homelessness too. Habitot is raising money right now for children without a home to call their own, so that they may enjoy a private birthday party all to themselves . Please check it out and share what you can: http://igg.me/at/BirthdayPartiesforHomelessKids/x

I see families and children engaging in play, learning, discovering, and taking advantage of the free family bonding classes, and parenting education workshops too. Children with special needs, especially in the autism spectrum, are able to enjoy the entire museum with other families just like theirs in the "Special Times for Special Families program too. I really can't say enough about how incredible this place is for young children and their families.

I couldn't even believe that Habitot has been able to stay strong as a Berkeley institution for almost 18 years, having an impact on over 1,000,000 children and families.

Every time I come here with my little girl, we have such a good time, we make new friends, and we always get a treat across the street at Cafe Clem!

Thank you Berkeley for giving us such an amazing place!

Chere F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Habitot is the perfect place for babies and toddlers to explore their new and changing abilities.

My grandson has a wonderful time learning about paint and colors - painting with big brushes on the big paint wall, dropping drops of paint on coffee filters and seeing the colors meld into new colors, stretching and pressing clay forms. The face painting area is a particular favorite place to make funny faces on himself and on me!
So many things that catch his attention!
The Train table with many trains to move around - being cooperative with other kids who want to play.
The ambulance with two steering wheels and a big bench seat for kids to pretend to drive fast to help the injured.
The Veterinary corner with all the dogs in cages and a pet washing area (sans water - thank goodness!)
The nursery area for babydolls to be clothed and bottle fed and examined by the pretend doctors.
The wind tunnel with flowers to toss in the air so they scatter about - plenty of brooms and dustbins to practice sweeping up.
Lots of big toys to climb into and out of and push. Police cars, fire engines, taxi cabs.

At least until recently when it changed to a big block area, our favorite area was the water play zone and car wash. Splashing encouraged! Playing with water to see which direction it runs when you pour it down tubes, into cups and pumps.

And so many toys to take home from their lending library - wow! We would never be able to buy all they toys he has check out. And his taste in toys changes so fast - the lending library is a great asset to our family.

The staff seem very well versed in the REI concepts - treating your young one like a whole person and letting them learn by "doing themselves" rather than taking away their fun and showing them "what is the right way". Ha! Like there is only one right way - not!

The hours work great for us (mornings and all day on Friday) - we try to stop soon enough to get home in time for nap...but it isn't easy leaving such a fun place.

Review from Guidestar

1 Beatrizy M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter love it habitot, we enjoys days for parents with special needs.

Review from Guidestar

1 Lorraine15

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a volunteer with the American Red Cross I had pleasure of hosting a table about Emergency Preparedness for five years in a row. For the last few, there were a total of six organizations. All representing an aspect of safety.

The staff were telling the parents about the information. The enthusiasm of the parents and the kids was very exciting.

Arranging for this event every year far exceeds expectations in my view.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

We've been happy visitors to Habitot for a couple of years now. It's not the most flashy of places, but my 2yo and 4yo can't get enough- they would play there every day if they could. The activities are so age-appropriate, and it's contained enough that I can manage taking both kids there by myself (a surprisingly short list of places in this category). I also feel good about supporting them knowing that they strive for equal access for homeless and low-income families, foster kids, etc. In short, I don't think it's too dramatic to say that Habitot really improves my family's quality of life.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm very grateful to Habitot for organizing free events for special needs children. My son has autism and gets overwhelmed in crowded environments. In order to serve all children, Habitot has a recurring special needs day for just this reason so my son can enjoy being a little boy. Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Habitot Children's Museum is a wonderful place for young children and their parents and other care givers to learn, explore, and be creative together. Some of my favorite visuals of my children when they were younger are pictures of their times at Habitot dressed as astronauts, firefighter or chefs, or painting on wall boards or washing cars in a town of their own size. It is a fabulous nonprofit that serves an important place in our community of families in the Greater Bay Area and beyond.

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My four year old daughter has enjoyed hours and hours at Habitot! I have brought a lot of the great ideas home to continue her fun and learning. She isn't in preschool or day care yet so it has been a great place to interact with others. The staff is so friendly. Everything is clean! We never brought illness home with us just fond memories. Thank you for this delightful imaginative place to play. I feel like a kid again when visiting! My teens have enjoyed playing with their little sister there. Many "injuries" have been fixed playing doctor. Love the gak! Face paint crayons! wind tunnel with flower petals!! We love Habitot. Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I picked up a groupon for an outing w/my 4yr old nephew. In sharing the experience w/friends I found myself describing this place as "a dump, w/a run down, dirty feel, & small; but my nephew seemed to enjoy the different "stations" of play & activity.

Way over priced for what you get & the condition of the place. It wasn't as painful as full price would've been w/o the Groupon.

This place really just needs a good cleaning & painting.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 4

Habitot provides my tot with a fun learning experience. Play is so important to young minds.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Lots of individual play spaces stimulate kids' imaginations. My little ones (ages 2 and 3 ½) had a fantastic time!

Review from Guidestar

Marcia32

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Habitot is a wonderful resource for new parents. They provide hands on learning, imaginative play and arts and crafts for children ages 1-5. The many cultural and educational events make Habitit a real jewel for the whole community.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Habitot has helped my child embrace her creativity and has given me a sense of community. They do so much for so many people and we really appreciate the fun and support we get there.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been taking my daughter to Habitot since she was 10 months old. She feels so at home in the space, and the real life installations have helped her learn so many things. The staff is so nurturing and remember her by name which makes her experiences there extra special. We love Habitot!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A fantastic place for our toddlers! We started coming when our first child was under one year old. That was six years ago and we have now been to Habitot countless times, usually coming tiwce or three times a week. It has been a wonderful place for both our children to be able to play-pretend, paint, make collages, play with water, play-doh and gak. All in a safe environment. Our only regret: we win't be able to come now our kids have entered the school system! Maybe we should have a third? ;)

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 13 month old loved our time at Habitot! And I loved all the educational exhibits. The veterinary clinic was a favorite since my son loves animals and he also enjoyed playing in the grocery store. I can't wait to take him back.

Review from Guidestar