I am not sure who is more in love with Pretend City, me or my kids. The newly opened children's museum in Irvine allows children to live, play, and work in a town of their own complete with a grocery store, farm, bank, beach, marina, art studio, doctor's office, fire station, and restaurant. The town is not only a fun and safe environment for kids to play, but is also very educational.
Take the grocery store for example. Kids can either shop in the store, work as stock clerks, or be cashiers. They can make pretend sandwiches in the pretend deli or sell produce that they have picked from the pretend farm behind the store. In exchange for the produce (or lobster and fish they "catch" in the marina), children receive play money that they can use to buy things in the store or restaurant.
At the pretend restaurant kids can take their parents order's for pretend sushi or dumplings or noodles. Then they can go back in the kitchen and prepare the meal, serve it, and take the payment using the pretend cash register. The kids had an absolute blast serving their parents and I think it was my kids favorite spot in the whole Pretend City.
In the center of town there is a stage complete with microphones, costumes, music, and lights for the kids to perform with. There is even a pretend sound board for the kids to find their inner mix master.
In the play house kids can help prepare meals on the pretend stove, put babies to bed in the pint sized crib, or give the babies a bath in the pretend bathtub. Everything is built in child sized proportions from the height of the pretend sink to the length of the pretend bed. They can also help put on an addition to the house with toy tools, plumbing parts, and shingles.
Kids have a blast driving the toddler sized cars on the pretend roads all through town. They can even stop at the gas station.
In the doctor's office kids can check out xrays, give baby a well check including weight and temperature, and check out their own heights. Its a great place to help doctor shy kids become more comfortable with the medical field.
The marina is like a water table on steroids. Kids can build and sail their own boats, learn about currents and wind, and just have a great time splashing.
The art studio is a great place for little ones to discover their inner artist and express themselves. Plus it gives them a nice little souvenir to take home with them and place on the refrigerator.
3 hours after we entered, I had to drag the kids out of there. They had an absolute blast. I highly recommend Pretend City for the toddlers and primary graders. If you would like more information on Pretend City click here.