Parent Resources

  • 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 move in big spaces that provide a […]

    Continue reading
  • Top 10 Key Elements to Raising Healthy Children

    As a pediatrician and expert in childhood obesity, people often ask me: What are key elements to raising healthy children? I was brainstorming and decided to answer that question with a top 10 list: 1. Enjoy family meals. When children participate in family meal times, they are more likely to eat healthier foods. Routine meals together also give children a sense of stability and belonging. Focus table talk on making children feel loved for who they are as individuals and not if they are eating certain foods or how much. Use meal times as a base camp to nourish each other with love and food. Children can also help with skills such as food preparation, cooking, and cleaning up. 2. Serve water and white milk only. In my practice, it is evident that sugary drinks are likely the biggest culprit contributing to obesity, cavities, pre-diabetes, and many more health conditions. Even 100% fruit juice is not recommended. Sports drinks, sodas, lemonade, yogurt drinks, chocolate milk, and fruit juices should not be kept in your refrigerator. While these sugary drinks may trickle in at parties or when out at restaurants, keep them out of the house at all times. 3. Offer […]

    Continue reading
  • Pretend City hosts S.T.E.M. tour for educators!

    Pretend City Children’s Museum welcomed guests from the annual Orange County Early Childhood S.T.E.M. Conference on Saturday, February 7. Guests consisted of educators dedicated to learning more about how to integrate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into their educational institutions in a developmentally appropriate way. Educators who attended the “tour” of Pretend City were charged with identifying STEM in action through PLAY! These educators came away with great examples of learning through play to help inspire them to create rich STEM environments. You can also integrate S.T.E.M. into your child’s play! An easy way to practice S.T.E.M is with building blocks. Whether they are small building blocks for the home, or bigger blocks like our Imagination Playground blocks, young children seem to be almost as intrigued by building and creating as they are by demolishing and dissecting. First things first: get down on the ground and build with your child. As you participate in building with your child, you are helping to develop critical motor skills, spatial skills, and hand eye coordination. To get things started, suggest a type of structure to build. You can use pictures and diagrams to inspire or guide a construction project. Let your imagination run; […]

    Continue reading
  • 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 […]

    Continue reading
  • 5 Easy Tips to Engage Your Kids in Science

    Inspire your children to love science! Pretend City was happy to contribute to OC Register‘s Family Tips section on Tuesday, July 8. Our Senior Director of Education, Linda Hunter, provided 5 easy tips to engage your kids in science. The article appeared in the OC Family Section, titled “Five fun ways to teach kids about science and more.” The article lists five easy and fun things you can do to integrate STEM education into your child’s play. Explore the outdoors Watch a science-oriented TV program together Engineer and build together Recycle your “trash” into something creative. Get inspired by visiting our Ultimate Recycling Machine. USe your child’s next health check up as an opportunity to talk about human health. The article expands on each tip with examples on how to integrate STEM into your child’s play. Try out these 5 tips this summer, and let us know how they worked for your family. We’d love to hear from you! If you are on OC Register subscriber, click here to read the article on OC Register’s website. Log-in is required.  Not an OC Register subscriber? Click here to read a PDF of the article.   

    Continue reading
1 2