Education & Development

  • Trader Joe’s Grocery Store at Pretend City Children’s Museum

    Have you ever thought of a grocery shopping as a learning experience for children? Your grocery store is filled with great literacy and math learning opportunities  including: Counting Addition/subtraction Measuring Learning the value of money Sorting and categorizing Letter recognition On your next visit, incorporate a fun activity to teach your child mathematics while shopping by giving them a go at shopping for apples – they will pick up skills such as: weighing objects identifying differences and similarities in shapes and sizes calculating costs The grocery store is also a great opportunity to teach by example. Your child may have observed how you make one of their favorite meals at home, such as spaghetti. While grocery shopping, ask them what ingredients are needed to make their favorite spaghetti at home and let them pick it out. They will learn things about the grocery store such as: that the store is organized into groups of similar things (i.e. produce, aisles, dairy) that it takes several ingredients to make one thing (the whole is made up of many elements) that the same product can have different costs (consumer literacy) Come to Pretend City and explore our brand new Trader Joe’s grocery store! […]

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  • Imaginary Friends: Should you be Concerned?

    Should I be concerned if my child has an Imaginary Friend? Answer: NO, you shouldn’t be concerned if your child has an imaginary friend! In fact, imaginary friends are very common. A study conducted by the University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists found by age seven, 65% of children have had an imaginary friend at some point in their lives! Here’s what you need to know: Myth: Children are living in a world of confusion and truly think their imaginary friend is alive.      Fact: Children know their imaginary friend isn’t real. They are able to separate fantasy from real life! This phase is all pretend and make-believe. Myth: Imaginary friends show loneliness or lack of social skills in a child.      Fact: Children with imaginary friends are actually exercising their imaginations. Research shows children with imaginary friends are very social, engage in more laughing and smiling with peers, and have a sophisticated understanding of how others may feel or think.  Myth: Children who have imaginary friends are troubled.      Fact: Having an imaginary friend does not show a child is troubled. However, if a child has experienced a traumatic event or difficulties in life, an imaginary […]

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  • Why We’re Revolutionizing Our Art Studio…

    New Year; New Art Studio! In 2017, our Art Studio will transition into PROCESS-BASED art! What is PROCESS-BASED art, you ask? Process-based art is about the journey, not the destination. Process-based art is about creating, imagining, and exploring…not replicating. Process-based art does not have instructions, or a sample end product. The opposite of PROCESS-based art is PRODUCT-based art, where children are working toward an art goal. In PRODUCT-based art, children are worried about following the instructions, the “right” and “wrong” way of how it should look, they may even become frustrated if they feel their art does not look like the sample. At Pretend City, we want children to learn through play. We want them to learn through their art projects. This is why one of our resolutions is to switch over to process-based art; where children can create unique, open-ended pieces of art, build confidence, and use their imaginations. Examples of PROCESS-based art include: Easel painting with a variety of colors and brushes Exploring and creating with clay Finger painting Making collages using tissue paper or construction paper of different colors and sizes Using stamps Weaving cloth, yarn, or paper Stringing beads independently and creatively Using unusual tools to paint […]

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  • Why are Young Children often Afraid of Santa?

    As a Child Development Specialist for over four decades, a Psychotherapist AND the wife of the best Santa around, I have some degree of expertise about why young children are often afraid of Santa.  And I can tell you that there is no one reason!  But I can give you a variety of reasons and since you know your child better than anyone, I will leave it up to you to identify which may be the reason your child may not automatically jump in his lap and snuggle up to Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. Reasons they are afraid of Santa • Normal Child Development Stages – Children under about age two have very predictable stages of both stranger anxiety and separation anxiety. When a child is handed to Santa from the comfort and familiarity of their parents’ arms, both are triggered. •They are not aware of Santa as a person – Santa has an unfamiliar costume on and lots of facial hair covering his face.  Now you and I see him and feel warm and cozy as it likely evokes pleasant holiday memories.  Not so for a young child.  They see a “mask” and costume much like we see on […]

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  • 52% of OC Kindergartners are NOT Ready for School

    Did you know? 52% of Orange County children are not Kindergarten Ready. How Do We Know This? The Early Development Index (EDI) measures the readiness of young learners. Orange County school districts partnered with the Children and Families Commission and brought the EDI to kindergarten classrooms across the county. After reviewing the alarming results, local leaders strategized to help parents and family members help their kindergarteners get back on track. Let’s look at Orange County. The EDI assessed 100% of kindergartners at public schools in Orange County, (about 34,288 children). The results showed 48% of kindergartners were on track in all 5 developmental areas, while 52% of kindergartners were not. What is School Readiness? The U.S. Department of Education defines the five domains of school readiness as follows: Language and literacy development Cognition and general knowledge (including early mathematics and early scientific development) Approaches toward learning Physical well-being and motor development Social and emotional development How is Pretend City Helping? Each month, Pretend City brings specialized programming to accomplish a variety of these developmental areas. We ensure children are “school ready” by providing opportunities to practice these domains. One example includes the home-changeover, where children are exposed to the home-lives […]

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