Santa Monica Kids
Big & Tiny
1731 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
This education and creative childcare center has always been ahead of the curve: The Santa Monica and Silver Lake locations offer parents a place to work while kids take classes, engage with educators and other kids, and have a blast while they’re at it. Both locations have summer programs up and running. There’s baby bootcamp for infants from three to thirty-six months, and summer camp for three- to six-year-olds with enhanced safety measures firmly in place. Kids can spend half days or full days with the same group, exploring yoga, music, creative arts, dance, group discussion, and the outdoors. The coworking space is open, so parents can stay, work, and peek in on little ones at play. And for parents who prefer in-home education (and some alone time), the Big & Tiny team will bring STEM-focused activities and a customized curriculum to you or your quaranteam.
Quinnie & B
1632 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
This brand-new, self-named "tiny toy shoppe" from the owners of nearby Thyme Café and Local Kitchen + Wine Bar is an undeniably adorable addition to Ocean Park. While it's not large, the selection is spot-on, with good birthday options for kids of all ages.
2710 Main St., Santa Monica
This is one of those spots that will make you believe that having kids doesn't always require a cacophony of brightly-colored plastic toys: Airy, and sparely stocked, Caro Bambino offers everything you'd want for a clean-lined, modern nursery—and nothing more. There are well-designed cribs, a smattering of wooden toys, and neutral-hued onesies.
1615 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica
When the family tires of the Santa Monica Pier, cross the street to this brand-new, space-age park. It’s composed of (soft), pebble-y rubber, making it excellent for crawlers and early walkers, though there are things to appease kids of all ages: Long slides are built into the hills, there’s a slanted climbing wall, plus huge jungle gym-like cones that aren’t for the acrophobic.
The Pink Chicken
1524 Montana Ave., Santa Monica
With stints at Ralph Lauren and babyGap at her back, it was arguably only time before Stacey Fraser started making little dresses for her kids. While the label launched in 2006, this is her first Los Angeles boutique—it's beachy feel is a perfect backdrop for the paisley printed dresses and subtly embroidered tops. Besides girls, there's also pieces for tweens (and grown-ups, too).
1220 5th St., Santa Monica
Though its just two-blocks from the Third Street Promenade, which sucks up a lot of the area's oxygen, this is inarguably one of the most special toy shops in the country. Everything here is made of wood, from the pint-sized grocery store stands (complete with farmers market fruits and veggies) to the rainbow-hued teethers.
Annenberg Community Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Hwy., Santa Monica
Sitting on the site of what was once a giant mansion that Randolph Hearst built for actress Marion Davies in the ’20s, this is now a 5-acre, completely public beach house, complete with the home’s original Olympic pool (the house was irreparably damaged by an earthquake, which led to its demolition). When it’s not pool season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), there’s still a lot to do, including a toes-in-sand cafe and beach volleyball for kids.
The Pump Station
2415 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
This mini-chainlet has a slightly unfortunate name that belies the full range of products and offerings. While they do rent and sell breast pumps (and have a lactation consultant, as well as support classes, on hand), you'll find a huge range of necessities for those first few weeks and months with a baby. Sleep sheep, onesies, tons of carrier varieties, diapering solutions, and health and wellness antidotes from primarily natural brands round out the offerings. There's another location in Hollywood.