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  • Help Bring Music to Pretend City!

    Imagine your little one strumming on a guitar, banging on the drums and shaking the tambourine. Not only are they having a blast, but they are also learning while they play. Pretend City wants to provide that experience for you and your family where you can shake, rattle, and roll together! Our new music pop-up exhibit will feature a variety of large-scale percussion and stringed instruments for you and your little one. Music stimulates and awakens different parts of the brain, immersing the child in language and helping them develop memory while movement helps to develop their coordination. Music is a natural way for all children to express themselves and a great way to explore how sounds work. A wealth of scientific research over the last decade is proving that music education is a powerful tool for attaining children’s full intellectual, social, and creative potential. Research indicates the brain of a musician works differently than that of a non-musician due to an increase in neural activity. USC neuroscientists at The Brain and Creativity Institute confirm that music instruction accelerates brain development in young children. The areas of the brain most impacted are responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception, […]

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  • Pretend City Children’s Museum Recognized as 2017 Finalist for National Medal

    Pretend City is a finalist!  Institute of Museum and Library Services announces Pretend City as 2017 Finalist for National Medal for Museum and Library Service  IRVINE, CA: The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced that California’s Pretend City, The Children’s Museum of Orange County, is among the 30 finalists for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to the community. For 23 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service and are making a difference for individuals, families and communities. “We at Pretend City are honored to be nominated for our contribution back to our community through our Good To Go From Head To Toe Program, a Children & Families Commission initiative,” said Sandra Bolton, Executive Director of Pretend City. Good To Go provides free developmental assessments, screenings, and health checkups for children ages 0-5 years by highly qualified and respected professionals. Through community outreach, readily available resources, on-site screening events and educational classes, the Good To Go From Head To Toe initiative educates parents/caretakers about what developmental milestones are, how to assess these milestones […]

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  • A Taste of Italy with Pretend City

    Ciao! Pretend City would like to welcome our little visitors to our brand new Italian restaurant, La Trattoria Italiano! La Trattoria Italiano is a fully interactive restaurant exhibit where your child can immerse themselves in Italian cuisine and all that it’s got to offer. Come as a patron and watch your little tot play restaurant server by taking your order and sending it to “la cucina,” or the kitchen. The kitchen is fully stocked with assorted spices and ingredients for your child to play chef and get creative. What will they cook up? The menu offers a variety of authentic Italian cuisine with food your child can get messy with to create delectable dishes! Enjoy a delicious plate of spaghetti and meatballs or a nice afternoon Gelato! This meaningful play will teach children how to identify shapes and colors while learning about the food they put into their bodies. This exhibit displays rich Italian culture with images of Italian cities along the walls and popular food and art. Your child will also learn first-hand the responsibilities that come with a restaurant job from taking patrons’ orders as a server to cleaning up afterward as a busser. Utilizing different roles in […]

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  • Art Resolution Month at Pretend City!

    During the month of January, Pretend City Children’s Museum is focusing on art! Each week, a new type of art will be highlighted through activities and projects for our museum guests to enjoy! There are many unique styles of art; each style teaching children different skills and expanding their imaginations! Week 1: Clay Days Clay is an art medium that is very tactile and can be molded into anything children can imagine. Children can shape, mold, roll, squeeze, and combine clay to create fun art pieces. Once they have created their masterpiece, children can reuse the clay to create something new! Why clay? Clay forces children to work with their hands, which helps them develop motor skills and improve dexterity. Using clay can be therapeutic for children while helping boost their confidence and self esteem!   Week 2: Artistic Inspiration When artists create a work of art, often times they were inspired by a work they had previously seen. This week is all about children seeing different works of art and live art demonstrations to inspire them to create their own! Some live art demonstrations this week include mural paintings, illustrations, follow-along drawings, and art projects! Why artistic inspiration? It’s always […]

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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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