Our Mission


Habitot is a hands-on discovery museum designed for the youngest children, 0-5 years old, who learn through, and thrive on, play and social interaction. 90% of a child’s brain develops before age 5. Brain development in the early years depends on enriching experiences and  positive interactions and relationships. Our mission is to provide a space that helps parents and caregivers—from as broad an audience as possible—raise creative, curious, and confident children.

Permanent and rotating theme-based exhibits like our small-scale grocery store, space station and mission control, and animal hospital are designed to give young children a context for play and learning about the world. Designed for small hands and bodies, our exhibits foster social interaction, problem-solving, building confidence.

As a longtime member of the national Association of Children’s Museums, we are part of an industry that’s making a difference for children and communities across the country. This is our collective “Case for Support” and our reason for being. We — all of us— make a difference. Please consider getting involved in the achieving a larger and permanent home for Habitot as the East Bay’s children’s museum.

Our Approach


Advocate for Early Childhood Learning through Play
Publicly demonstrate with exhibits and programs that young children learn best through play, and they become socially skilled and emotionally healthy through play.

Support Preschool Arts

Cultivate children’s natural creativity and imagination in the early years, fostering authentic, self-directed “process not product” art, and present enriching cultural performances by musicians, dancers, storytellers, and singers.

Foster Parenting Education

Increase parent understanding of early childhood development and successful parenting to enhance parent-child bonding and family well-being so children thrive. Provide a space where parents learn from each other though observation and mutual connections.

Build Community

Be a welcoming center for community engagement, parent-to-parent connections, supportive caregiver networks, and the inclusion of vulnerable populations who might not otherwise visit a children’s museum.


Habitot Benefits Children

For young children, play is essential for learning. Whether playing alone or with others, children learn and acquire life skills by dressing up in costumes, pretending to grocery shop, driving a child-size ambulance, and even floating toy boats down a little river.

Recent studies show that play develops creativity as well as social and emotional skills, not to mention healthy bodies and an active style of living. Play builds self-confidence, develops problem-solving abilities, and lets children take ownership of what they do. But research also shows that play seems to be vanishing from children’s lives.


Habitot Benefits Families

At its core, Habitot is about helping all young children in our community reach their potential. That means investing in the whole family.

Habitot Children’s Museum provides hands-on arts and “maker” activities, STEM explorations, and cultural programs. It’s a place where imaginations grow, children become creative thinkers, and parents are supported with opportunities to shine as their children’s first, amazing teachers.

“The traditional support system for parents has all but disappeared, and with it the myth of instinctive parenting. Parenting is neither instinctive nor simple, and everyone needs help.” — Nick Carter, Parents Inc., Pew Charitable Trust report

At Habitot, we’re confident that by gathering families together to learn from one another, and by providing easy access to workshops with experts, the Habitot community can ameliorate the disappearance of the traditional support system.


Habitot Benefits the Community

Habitot has a long history of working to help the most diverse group of families feel at home at Habitot. Correspondingly, people who don’t often feel at ease in a museum environment do feel comfortable at Habitot. We’re so proud that Habitot is a place where our community can play and learn together!

When Habitot reopens in a space that “reads” as a world class museum, we’ll continue to work to keep our unusually diverse family of Habitot-goers knowing they belong. Together, we can change self and societal perceptions about who belongs in a museum space. We believe this can have important short term impacts on our children and long term positive impacts on the entire East Bay Community.

We’re all better off when we all play and learn together!