My son has been going to Habitot for three years and I have been impressed with Habitot from the beginning! My son loves to go there and I feel safe taking him to camps and other activities. My only wish is that it had the funds to expand so that it could meet the needs of more children and families in the area. The exhibits and activities are developmentally appropriate, and the staff are kind, trained, respectful and courteous! My son is five years old and he still loves going there!
I would love for Habitot to be able to expand, as I am confident they could then work with some elementary early grade students as well. Habitot is the best place for preschool children in Berkeley!
Review from Guidestar
As a grandmother of two small children aged 2 and 4, Habitot is a lifesaver. The kids always have a great time. The space is always clean with lots of choices of activities from a train table, water fun, and of course, pretend food for shopping and cooking (a family favorite).
One of the best Christmas gifts I received last year was my Grandparent's membership to Habitot. I think I enjoy it as much as my 3.5 year old grandson and 20 month old granddaughter. Habitot is always clean and friendly with lots of support staff providing fun activities and play opportunities for the kids. Its a safe, caring environment that I take advantage of frequently.
Habitot offers great programming to help support me as a parent aswell as being a great welcoming space for my child.
I'm a Vision Impairment Specialist with Blind Babies Foundation and I have found Habitot to be a perfect play space for the little ones I serve. Their exhibits are so thoughtful , experiential and age appropriate. The staff is always warm & welcoming.
My daughter loves this place and so do I. Some of her first words were "Go painting again?" The staff is amazing. They manage to keep the place clean and organized. After our first visit we became members.
I am a creativity expert. I write and lecture on creativity and the creative process and am one who helps other understand and embody creativity as a way of being. And I have a two year old daughter who by far is my biggest teacher. As children, all of us are naturally creative. We observe, we experiment, we aren't worried about what others think nor afraid of failure. As we more towards adulthood our natural creativity tends to take a back seat to our need to fit in. Some of this is good. But too much of this robs us of the best part of our being human, the ability to imagine, to wonder, to flow, and to love, all of which are core aspects of the experience of creating. Fortunately for Bay Area residents, Habitot present an inspiring, stimulating environment that is a hoot for kids and parents alike. Side by side, by watching my daughter break all the rules, using her hands instead of the paint brush, pouring water on her own shoe, and being unabashed in everything she does, I get to reclaim my own innate, full body creative potential. Habitot also is filled with pith reminders about the natural creativity of children and how to encourage their natural desire to explore and play. The staff is friendly and maintains the sense of compassion, even when we parents catch ourselves trying to get our child to do the project "the right way." I love going there and following my daughter around, knowing that she is safe and can watch and learn from other kids. I wish all cities has a place as inspirational and kid friendly as Habitot. Undoubtedly, with a strong sense of these young one's creative capacities firmly established, the world will indeed be a better place!
I will try to express how grateful we are to have Habitot in our area. I truly wish every city had a place for parents and children like this to go to. First, the price is more than reasonable. Second, they consistently change the themes so creativity is running wild that rubs off not only onto the kids but onto the parents as well. Third, I'm so happy my daughter can play in the water area and get wet without me having to clean up after as well as do so-called messy projects there with paint and glue and again, i do not need to spend my time cleaning up after. Most of the staff (volunteers?) are exceptional. And the only thing I wish is that this place was open longer hours. We love you Habitot! We refer so many people to you!
My children and I love Habitot! As the mother of a child with special needs and a typical toddler there are few safe, fun places that I can take both of them to. Habitot is definitely one of them. There is so much great sensory play, including the water exhibit, the wind tunnel, and the art studio. The fun we have had together in the art studio is unlike anything we have ever experienced, and I didn't have to clean up after it! :) I also enjoy reading things from the Parenting Cart. I have learned a lot that way.
Such a fun and magical place for kids. Love that there's always a new few crafts to try and the main area changes themes but the train table stays the same. My son will experiment with all of the exhibits but core time is spent there.
Habitot is an amazing place for children. They provide an exciting, clean, and safe environment in which children can paint, play, imagine, create, and learn. For members they have a toy library (which is a fabulous idea) and they have all sorts of programming and interactions with the community. I have attended a parenting lecture there which was very helpful and my daughter has gone to several of their class, which were wonderful. They change a couple of their major exhibits every 6 months, some of the other ones more frequently, and have different things in the art room every day. We could come here every day and my daughter would be ecstatic. When she started school they mentioned that she seemed very comfortable from the beginning and I think this is in large part thanks to Habitot, where she interacts with a range of children in a safe environment. It is also an amazing place to watch your child grow up in, as they play with the toys in different ways at different ages.
This was the first Bay Area place for kids we visited once we decided to move here. It is a great place for babies on up, and it is so fun to see kids grow with the place and place grow with the kids. We love the innovative new exhibits like the rocket ship and doctor's office, and that there are a lot of constants like the water area and tot garden. It's a great place for ungs kids on various ages in the same family to play together. Love it!!
Went there with my 2-yr-old and 3-month-old a couple months ago. I love the products in the museum store--it's a one-stop shop for encouraging my toddler to learn through play. Every time I go to Habitot I walk away with something--that day with 5 items! Wish I knew they had such a nice raincoat and rain boots selection before I settled for Target's only display model, which was more expensive than what Habitot had there!
Previously, when I brought my toddler, he could not keep away from the water table. This last time, he went everywhere and it was just a joy to see him enjoy himself. Going to Habitot gave me so many more ideas about indoor play to start having at home. The price of admission, when compared to the bountiful ideas that I got when I attended, was minimal. I also appreciate they have a resource library and that was how I read the latest copy of the East Bay Moms newsletter.
Although they have a toy lending library, which I wish I could make the most use of, I do not trust my toddler with them at the moment. It would have been useful to know about this library before we had invested in all these look-good toys that only held my toddler's interest for a couple days or weeks at most. Looking back, if we had invested in a year's family membership, we would have actually SAVED toy money!
Plus, they actually promote play, not all the academics that I keep seeing when visiting preschools. I felt for the first time that it was a permissive space and I could let my toddler wander from space to space within the museum.
Best of all, it is in downtown Berkeley, very walkable and commutable for a mom who does not drive. I am so grateful for such a precious resource in our local community! Yes, it's not Disneyland or Six Flags, but at least I can be sure my active toddler is enclosed in a safe space and cannot run too far from me to catch him (very important when you've got an infant strapped to your front as the sole daytime caretaker).
As a stay at home mom I need things to do with my 2 year old. Habitot is his favorite place to go. One of his first words was "tot-tot", which he said anytime we were nearby. It is a wonderful place for young children. It has many stimulating activities and it is great place to teach him how to interact appropriately with other children. I love that they have little art projects that encourage him to be creative and get messy. We also frequently check out toys from the toy library. I appreciate that the membership price is very reasonable as we are on a budget.
We LOVED Habitot on our visit--lots of hands on sensory and art activities and a number of educational exhibits that we haven't seen at any other children's museums--I love the lending library and they make great use of the space that they have, but I would love to see what they would do with a larger space. I removed one star just because the space was a little small (kids LOVE this place) and pricey for my large family--I wish there was a sliding scale/multi-use discount. Hopefully, with more sponsorship they can get a larger facility and may be able to lower the admission cost. It really is a FANTASTIC place.
Habitot is a great museum for the little ones. It is small enough that they don't feel intimidated but large and diverse enough to keep their interest for several hours.
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.
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!
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.
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.