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Gizmo’s A Plenty at the Child Creativity Lab

My daughter and I were guests at the Grand Opening of the Child Creativity Lab

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We attended the Grand Opening of the Child Creativity Lab in Santa Ana. As a former elementary school teacher, I’ve always gravitated to the expression: –With ART, anything’s possible! There is NOTHING more satisfying and fulfilling for children than to be able to express themselves openly and without judgment. We know now, there is a window of time in their development where if they don’t use it- They LOSE IT. …Tell me it isn’t SO?!….. Internet…TV…..technology…are awesome avenues but it could be hurting our kids? I’m a tad guilty AT TIMES allowing my kids time on iPads, video games and watching TV … but with creative outlets like the Child Creatively Lab—the world’s their explorative oyster!

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My ten year old daughter and I jumped at the chance to visit the Child Creativity Lab ‘Grand Opening’ and explore its “hands on” creative space.— It’s about a 25 minute drive north from the 5 FRWY at Crown Valley. As we first pulled in the FREE parking space, the outside of the business park seemed unassuming – BUT don’t judge a book by its cover! The CCL is a large, open, conducive room for little hands and creative minds. Check out the COOL calligraphied quote on the CCL Labs wall by Maya Angelou , “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

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We were greeted by Peter Chang , Founder and Executive Director of the Lab who shared the facility’s goals, ideas, and long-term vision. What?…fun and exploration at your fingertips?…ah!…yah!!! The Child’s Creativity Lab was a dream come true for my daughter. It houses huge receptacles with colorful gauze , rolls of burlap, bubble-wrapping paper, nylon spools, metal rivets and well…you get the idea ;-)…hundreds of exciting materials for re-purposing! Suffice it to say, it was a feast for our eyes.

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We were delighted to take in all the organized bins of eclectic, colorful, re-cyclable materials. They had rows of reusable, reclaimed materials and shelves of mason jars filled with cool trinkets and gizmos-a-plenty! My daughter aspires to become a civil engineer just like her Dad, and said, “I can’t wait to bring DAD and show him my own design!” (minimizing the fact that her Mother was STANDING right in front of her…hah…and her Mom STILL thinks she’s the apple of her daughter’s eye…but nooooo, apparently it’s her Dad that’s the APPLE…arrggh .I guess I’m dispensable…..hah! 8-))

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As the afternoon progressed, I realized there was not ONE lackluster child in the lab wishing they had their Mom’s iPhone in their hands to escape into the “mind-numbing phone-zone”. All children were happily engaged, working on tasks at hand that fired up the sometimes “left out” synapses of the brain. I observed the children leaving the facility feeling accomplished (with craft, science project in hand).

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This STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based program is designed to draw awareness and sensitivity to waste and find alternate ways to use for a larger purpose in our environment. Upon viewing the entire room, my inner geek was alive! I wanted to jump in and create with the kids but I left all the creating up to my daughter….THIS time ;-). We are definitely returning for a FUN family gathering on a Saturday. It’ll be a Mom and Dad challenge against the kids, competing in a task of funky treasures or creating useful household tools. Bring it on! Fun, fun!…getting our children’s creative energies flowing.

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Thanks CCL for welcoming us and showing us around. The CCL offers a number of Material Scholarships to distribute free of charge. They serve the needs of under-privileged and after school programs as well.. The CCL hours of operation are M-TH 10- 6pm, FRI 10-5pm, SAT 1-4pm! The address is: 1815 East Wilshire Avenue #906, Santa Ana, CA 92705. Visit the website at http://childcreativitylab.org/.

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Colleen Shissler is a native of Southern California, a tenured 22 year primary educator, and a proud mom of two wonderful children. She’s married to a loving husband (a City Director of Laguna Beach). Colleen enjoys volleyball, expressing her inner artist, good wine with good friends, dog walks around the lake, and spending time with her large family in Monterey.
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2 Comments

  1. Love this article – so personal and informative. I want to go visit Child Creativity Lab.

  2. Sounds like so much fun Colleen! I definitely want to go check it out with my kids sometime. All your photos were great too!

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