Education & Development

  • Risk Taking: Child Development Magic!

    I watched something magical happen the other day! As most of our readers know by now, Pretend City Children’s Museum is hosting a new summer exhibit called Super Powers. During the first week of operations, we were customizing the zip-line activity to ensure a safe experience for all of our guests. Initially, I spent a couple of hours simply observing how this exciting activity was being used by both children and their adults. Since the installation, children have been flocking to this area to zip down the rope like a super hero and I can assure you that it is definitely a “super” popular activity! As I was doing my initial observation, I noticed a mom and her (best guess) 3 year-old son. Mom was trying to talk a very hesitant 3 year-old into trying the short zip line and he was having nothing to do with it! He dug his heels in and refused to even step up on the starting platform. But he was interested in the activity as evidenced by his reluctance to leave the area and do something else. So this smart mom let him watch, remarking on the fun the other children were having. After […]

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  • Separation Anxiety in Children

    Separation Anxiety in Children As a Family Therapist and having run a child care center for close to 20 years, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic of children separating from parents.  Separation anxiety is normal and yet varies widely between children.  Normal or not, as most parents know, it can be super upsetting for both children and their parents.  But as with most things in life, forewarned is forearmed.  There are some predictable times in your child’s young life that you can expect to see this behavior emerge. INFANTS After your child develops the concept of object permanence, they understand that when they cannot see you, you are truly gone. Although some babies develop object permanence as young as 4 or 5 months, it is most common to solidify this concept at about 9 months.  This is when you might expect to see more discomfort when leaving your baby.  As with all of us this anxiety can be worsened if your baby is hungry, tired or not feeling well. TODDLERS Some toddlers skip separation anxiety as an infant.  Then at about 15 to 18 months you might expect to see your toddler begin to have more […]

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  • Making Time For Play at Every Age

    Making Time for Play at Every Age Kids of all ages need and have a right to play – as do all other living creatures… including adults! With play hours being sucked from a child’s day at drastic rates, it is even more important that adults ensure that children and the whole family MAKE TIME FOR PLAY.  We are raising a generation of anxious, overweight, unsocial children and play is the antidote for all of these problems. Here are some tips to keep play alive and kickin’ at any age: 0-1: Play is critical for this explosive period of brain development.  It is imperative for forming core attachments, which sets the anchor for healthy relationships. Provide lots of sensory stimulation with a variety of textures, smells, and sounds.  Belly time on the floor with interesting objects will do the trick.  And provide lots of face-to-face time with your baby. Remember that you are your baby’s mirror to the world. This is an easy one because it’s so much fun to play patty cake and peekaboo and just to giggle with your baby! 1-2: Play is all about moving at this age.  So give your little one lots of opportunity to […]

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  • Mindfulness Tips to Practice at Home

    Try these Mindfulness Tips at Home!  Playing “telephone” is a wonderful way to encourage mindful listening in your home. This fun game will build literacy, encourage communication and listening skills. First, ask your family to sit in a circle. Then ask one person begin the game by whispering (very softly) a simple phrase to the other person. Follow this step throughout the circle. In the end, ask the last person to share what they heard. Use this exercise as an opportunity to have fun and encourage deep listening to the other. Mindful breathing can help your child settle down after a high energy activity. One simple suggestion is to offer three mindful breaths before or after ending an activity. For example, “Before we eat lunch, let’s find our quiet bodies and take three, peaceful breaths.” By creating this opportunity, you are showing your child how to care for themselves and encourage inner listening. Practice Mindful Breathing. During a quiet or transition time, invite your child to practice “mindful breathing”. First, ask them to choose a small toy or stuffed animal. Ask them to lay down and place the toy or stuffed animal on their belly. Guide them through their breathing […]

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  • Sneak Peek: Books Alive Art Gallery

    Grand Opening of the Books Alive Art Gallery Friday, September 5, 2014 All September long, visit Pretend City’s Books Alive Art Gallery.  Our grand opening will kick-off with our first Author’s Day on Friday, September 5th. This unique art exhibit features open-ended art projects that have been created by our guests. This exciting display of children’s art is all based off of children’s books. You’ll see a wide range of creative paintings, weaving and collage and some interesting 3-D art applications. Parents and children will develop an appreciation for the art of other people and cultures, and the confidence to express their own thoughts and feelings through art. Here’s a look at what’s going on behind-the-scenes!  

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