2020 Gourmet Guys & Gals event has launched!

Calling All Amateur Chefs and Food Service Professionals!

The Friends of the Children’s Museum at La Habra are happy to announce a new revised version of a delightful 26+ year old La Habra culinary tradition – Gourmet Guys, an event that supports The Children’s Museum at La Habra. Yes, this year Gourmet Guys & Gals invites female competitors to roll up their sleeves, choose their tastiest recipes and join the competition.

Gourmet Guys & Gals is returning in an exciting new format as a delicious virtual event conducted entirely online. Participating chefs will prepare their favorite dish, share it via a short video and ask others to vote for their dish by making a donation to the Museum.

Through the Friends of the Children’s Museum at La Habra’s online platform, competing chefs will use email, social media and text to share their video with their network.

Instead of cooking for 100+ people, competing chefs will create one dish.  Interested chefs can participate from anywhere in the world this year since they won’t need to prepare a ton of food for a live event in La Habra. Our goal is to attract 100+ participating chefs to support the Museum.

The general public will have the opportunity to watch chefs’ preparation, listen to the description of their dish and see how their recipe turned out. They will also be able to respond to chefs’ request for support.   

The Gourmet Guys & Gals event portal makes it easy for participating chefs to share their videos via a variety of social media channels. Competition categories include guys, gals, elementary and junior high students, high school students and professional chefs.

On Saturday evening, November 7th, we invite you to join us for dinner at our free live online 2020 Gourmet Guys & Gals event that will feature dishes by local celebrity chefs, the naming of 1st place medal winners in each Gourmet Guys & Gals chef competition category and the crowning of our Chef of the Year, our top overall fundraiser, who will win a 5-night vacation to Lake Tahoe.

To participate as a chef in 2020 Gourmet Guys & Gals or attend our live online event on November 7th, please go to: http://tinyurl.com/GourmetGuys&Gals.

Questions?  Contact Rick Snyder at rsnyder9@gmail.com or Dawn Fielder at rvrfam@msn.com. Gourmet Guys & Gals supports a great community organization, The Children’s Museum at La Habra!  Please share this announcement with friends, family and colleagues who might like to participate or donate.

California’s first children’s museum, The Children’s Museum at La Habra is a hands-on learning facility for children ages 2-10. Housed in a historic 1923 Union Pacific Depot, the Museum is located at 301 S. Euclid Street in La Habra. General admission is $10 per person; children under two are free. The Museum is open to the public from 10 am – 12noon Wednesday through Friday. For further information, call (562) 383-4236 or visit www.lhcm.org

Welcome Back to CMLH!

We are so excited to announce our re-opening next Wednesday, September 23rd! It has been a loooong time since our guests have played, learned, and discovered in our Museum and we are SO thrilled to tell everyone that we will be opening our Museum for 2-hour sessions from Wednesday-Friday 10AM-12PM!

Since the closure of the Museum in March, we have been putting our best foot forward to connect with our audience and create opportunities for playing and learning at home. We used our digital platforms to reach our audience and tell stories, play games, and do activities. We created a curbside pickup for kits that ranged from Everything Water to All Out Art. We created a Play Pass for families to come to our Museum and Design & Build, have a Dino Day, and more.

It has been such a joy to create programming for families during this time. We are beyond grateful for the patience and kindness that people have shown us while we try to get back on our feet and return to “normal”.

We’ve had some questions about our opening and what it means, so check out our FAQ below:

Q: What days are you open?
A: We will be open for play Wednesday-Friday from 10AM-12PM!

Q: What is the Museum’s capacity?
A: Our Museum is following state and local guidelines around health and safety during this time, and our new capacity is 50 persons inside the Museum!

Q: Do members need reservations as well?
A: Great question! To make sure we are following our capacity maximum, ALL guests inside of our Museum need a reservation. If you are a member and sending in your RSVP via Google Forms, just click the “Yes” box under the “Are you a member” question–no need to fill out the credit card info!

We will post more updates soon. Stay tuned for more information!

Teach Me Tuesday: All the Arts!

Hello friends, we’re back with another Teach Me Tuesday. Today we’ll be talking about supporting your child’s development through art. As caregivers, we know first hand that the artistic process is about more than developing skill as a painter or sculptor, but let’s talk about what’s really going on as your child finger paints, cuts paper, and draws!

We’ve talked before about the four pillars that make up the California Preschool Standards: mathematics, social-emotional development, language/literacy, and English language development. There are also guidelines on age-appropriate development for the arts! We’re going to focus on visual art, but there are also guidelines on dance, drama, and music. And guess what- they are things you, our amazing caregivers, are already doing with your little ones!

At the early childhood stage, art education isn’t about formal study of artists or cookie cutter skills. Here at the children’s museum, our approach is to focus on the process and use art as a medium in which to develop language, critical thinking, and sensory skills.

Language– Let’s use our words to describe our art! Model descriptive language related to your child’s work to help them develop their own language skills. Comments like “I put a cow in front of the barn,” “I like the circles you drew- blue is my favorite color,” and “That house reminds me of grandma’s house” help your child make connections between what they see and what it means.

Sensory skills and motor skills– Toddlers and preschoolers are very in tune with how things feel. Give your child a variety of materials to work with- slippery finger paint, delicate chalk and crayons, ripped paper collages, and everything in between. Working with clay and painting help develop finger muscles and small motor skills, which are the foundation for learning how to write! And remember, your child’s work doesn’t have to look exactly like the Pinterest sample- it’s the process of learning and creating that is so valuable.


Literacy– How about extending an art activity by reading a book beforehand? We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Press Here by Herve Tullet, and MIXED by Arree Chung.

We hope this helps you understand that the value of art goes far beyond crafts and doodles! What kind of art does your child enjoy? Share it in the comments below!

Water Play and Everyday Learning

Hello friends, we are back with another Teach Me Tuesday focused on this week’s theme: water! Whether it’s splashing in a pool, taking a bath, or even washing their hands, children instinctively love the sensory action of water. With a little bit of prep, you can frame water play as an inviting learning experience! Here are some ideas to try at home.

DIY Water Wall

Photo from Little Bins for Little Hands

Attach funnels, cut open water bottles, plastic tubing, or whatever strikes your fancy to a fence. Use zip ties to attach your water wall pieces. It may take some tinkering to create a successful path to the bottom, but that’s part of the learning experience- and part of the fun.

Measuring Cups

Give your little one plastic measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a small pitcher for pouring and scooping water. This develops motor skills (muscle control) and independence (building towards pouring their own drinks). Point out the numbers or volume measurements on the cups (“Can you pass me the quarter cup measuring cup?” “What if we add 2 teaspoons of bubble bath to the tub?”). Which bottle holds more water, the tall skinny one or the short wide one?

Toy Wash

Toys being cleaned in soapy water
Happy Hooligans

Keeping toys cleaned and sanitized is more important than ever! Set up a small, shallow bin with water, child-friendly soap, and a scrubbing brush. This soothing activity also sets your child up to contribute to the household and other cleaning chores- it’s a win win!

Water Painting and Ice Cube Painting

Try a quick water activity on the next hot summer day to cool off with your kids!
Hands On As We Grow

This one couldn’t be simpler- give your child a bowl of water and a paintbrush (bonus points if you let them use real tools like paint rollers or a house paintbrush), and let them “paint” outside with water! For a different experience, freeze water (add food coloring if you have it) and a popsicle stick- this works well on paper or outdoors. Can you still see your water painting a few hours later? Why or why not? Where do you think the water goes?

How do you play with water at home with your little one? Are there any ideas that we’re missing? Please share in the comments below!

Thank-You-Thursday: Making it Happen.

Hi all! Welcome back to another Thank-You-Thursday, where we thank the people, organizations, and community members who make our Museum’s mission of “play for everyone” possible!

Today we are thanking our local American First Credit Union branch for providing bags and supplies for a FREE giveaway (hint: look at the bottom of this post for more information). Not only did they bring by these super cute bags with coloring pages and crayons, but they also do a lot to uplift our Museum throughout the year. Let’s talk about it!

As some of you know, the work we do at our non-profit Children’s Museum depends on different streams of support, particularly donations made by generous donors like American First Credit Union. They support our programming, staff, and even keep community at the center of their organization by tying in a Museum membership when banking with them!

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor
Picture from the grand opening of the Harbor-Imperial branch.

We are so grateful to the organizations in our community who continue to make donations and make us a priority–even through a pandemic where things are especially tough and community is more important than ever.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Helen Keller

Keep an eye out for a post about our American First Credit Union giveaway next Friday, September 11th from 11AM-1PM or while supplies last!

With love and thanks,
The Children’s Museum at La Habra

Teach Me Tuesday: Engineering Edition


As part of our Design and Build (Engineering) week, we thought we’d offer a few tips for you parents and caregivers to keep in mind while engaging with your child. As you will see, these intentional acts are also very intuitive for both parent and child, and you are probably already using these with your little one!

So, what is engineering? Generally speaking, engineering is the scientific process that creates a solution to an existing problem. Want to find any easier way to get to an island? An engineer would build a bridge or a tunnel. Looking for a really strong sheet of glass for a building? An engineer can help with that, too! What does engineering play look like for a young child? Playing with blocks, rolling cars down a ramp, pushing a train on a track, flying a kite or a paper airplane. . . the list goes on and on!

(photos from The Society of Women Engineers and National Association of Black Engineers)

We like to use the California Preschool Learning Foundations as a jumping off point when we approach early childhood learning. If you click the link above, you’ll see that the four pillars of this framework are mathematics, social-emotional development, language/literacy, and English language development. How can we apply each of these to engineering?

Social-emotional learning: Toddlers and preschoolers have a lot of FEELINGS! Use engineering play to work through self-regulation and recognizing emotions. “You worked really hard on your tower, I know it’s frustrating that it fell down. I’m sad too. Should we try again?” “I think your sister wants to share the Legos with you. Let’s think of something you can build together.”

Mathematics: Incorporate number sense. Beyond simply counting the number of blocks on the table, help your child make connections. “Let’s use one red block for every person in our family” or “Wow, I like how you stacked those from biggest to smallest!” Recognizing patterns is another way to learn about math through engineering and building.

Language/Literacy: We love creating a literacy connection by reading a story alongside a building activity. For toddlers, you can’t go wrong with classic stories like The Three Little Pigs or Billy Goats Gruff. For preschoolers and older children, we like “If I Built a House” and “Rosie Revere, Engineer.”

English language development: Engineering play is wonderful at building language skills. Model this yourself by talking through your actions. “I’m going to put two trains next to each other. Oh no, they won’t fit through the tunnel! I’m going to push them one at a time instead.” Use specific words like behind, across, next to, underneath, at an angle, etc to push those vocabulary skills even further.

We hope you find these tips useful and can approach engineering playtime with confidence! Remember that “Play is the work of childhood” and that there is nothing like the joy and closeness that develops when playing and working with your Little Engineer.







Thank-You-Thursday: Our Amazing Supporters!

As the Children’s Museum at La Habra has tried to navigate this unprecedented time, there is one thing we are constantly reminded of: that our community has our back. We’ve gone from completely closed to open to slightly open to closed once again and there has never been a shortage of people asking, “what’s next?”.

Throughout this time, we’ve had people show up and show out for the Museum. We are grateful for every DM, every email, every Facebook comment, every call to the Museum. Each question and comment from our community is a light amidst darkness that reminds us of our mission: to provide valuable learning opportunities for the families in our community.

As many of you know, we have done several things throughout these few months to engage Museum-goers and learning enthusiasts alike. From free kits to Daily Play Passes for outside play, we are thankful to those who have continued to engage with us and ask, “what’s next?”

This is a thank you to all of you who have supported us throughout this time. We are grateful for your patience, your willingness to support your local Museum, and your enthusiasm in learning with your little one.



We thank every family who has come to pick up a kit from us. The challenge to pivot our entire model of community engagement was a big one and we were met with love, kindness, and appreciation!





We thank our members who showed up on our first day open, eager to play. With a totally new way of doing things, we were nervous to re-open. We were greeted with smiles (underneath masks, of course), questions, and kindness. What a day!






We thank every family that has come to pick up our free kits! Our pride and joy is providing resources to all of our local families.







Thank you to our Play Pass families who have made our hearts soar with the possibilities of what we can do in this new day and age!




We are constantly overwhelmed by the support we have gotten from Members, guests, and newcomers alike. Words cannot describe the  gratitude in our hearts for each and every community member who has extended their time, energy, and resources into celebrating our Museum.

With love,
The Children’s Museum at La Habra

See You Soon!

In anticipation of our re-opening, we asked guests and some staff members to submit photos about what they are most excited about when our Museum re-opens! We were so happy to get their feedback and share it with you all! See their answers below and use the comment section to write your own memories!

“The train room is our favorite, we can’t wait for the timer to restart! But we also love the bus and carousel! We can’t wait to get back!” – Charlene Ruan



“Me and my 2-year old love every part of the museum, be it the fruits n vegetable station, pretend play area, harvesting and the wide range of animals especially the dinos. He just loves them.” – Pragya Sharma


Jennifer - Blog.jpg

“My name is Jennifer Andrade, the Visitor Services Coordinator at the Children’s Museum at La Habra. I am extremely excited to hear the laughter of children fill our museum again!!! Also, I am really excited for our guests to check out our new Changing Gallery Exhibit, American Native: First Nations Tales!!”

“We are so excited for the carousel to open, our little ones absolutely love it!” — Lilly Lopez



I really miss seeing families playing together and the spark in parents eyes as they watch their children.  It is so rewarding to get a “thank you so much” from parents for an experience we provided and allowing them to make memories together as family with their little ones.  It reminds me of when I was a young mom and how I cherished learning together with my little ones! ❤ — Assistant Director, Maria Tinajero-Dowdle

We are so excited to welcome our members, guests, volunteers, and community members back into the Museum. It has been an honor to serve you all digitally and we will continue to do so even after our re-opening! Stay tuned for an important message tomorrow about our re-opening schedule and all the information you need to come play at CMLH!

Resources to Support Social-Emotional Learning in Your Child


Letters, colors, numbers, and. . . empathy? When we think about early childhood learning, beginning skills like numbers, the alphabet, language, and motor development (muscle control) might be what come to mind. However, there’s another area that is just as important- social/emotional development. As anyone with a toddler knows, small children can have BIG FEELINGS- and that’s a part of the amazing brain development that happens in the first few years of life. Empathy, self-control, patience, and attachment are all a part of this type of learning, and form the foundation for ANY kind of development that follows!
We Are Teachers has some great activities to help your child recognize and give name to their feelings. How cute is the feelings scale?

First 5 California has some great advice on parenting during COVID-19. Even though California and other states are “opening up” businesses, many families are still spending a lot of time at home in our new normal. First 5 California has some wonderful resources to support parents as well as children in their social/emotional needs.

The National Association for the Education of Young People has some great resources as well. We love the reminder that non-verbal cues (eye contact and facial expression, for example) and modeling behavior are effective ways to interact with young children.

We hope these links can serve as a starting point in learning about social-emotional development in your child. Do you have a question or a tried and true method for guiding the emotional growth of your child? Please share with us in the comments!

We’re Better Together: What We Can Do At Home to Stop Racism.

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With our hearts heavy with current events, we found it necessary to compile a list of resources for parents and educators to facilitate positive, constructive conversations around racism, discrimination, and intentional action.

As an organization, the Children’s Museum at La Habra proudly uplifts diverse voices to enrich cultural understanding in our community through programming, gallery content, art, and more. We see every day as an opportunity to spread kindness, love, and quality educational opportunities to every person in our local and global community.

Please see the non-exhaustive list below to find ways to address racism with the little ones all around you.

With love,
The Children’s Museum at La Habra


Honoring the work of Jacque Tahuka-Nuñez, we are excited to feature her play, Journeys to the Past, which you can find:


Jacque Tahuka-Nuñez is an Educator and person of Acjachemen Descendent. Jacque is a world famous storyteller who is enriches the lives of all people by storytelling and sharing indigenous history. We honor Jacque’s work and encourage others to listen and learn. We have posted this today to enrich cultural understanding around Indigenous people and their histories and educate children, families, and caretakers.

For more information on Jacque’s work, visit her website here: Here.

Facilitating conversions for both parents and educators:

How to Talk to Kids, Early an Often, about Race by Jessica Grosse

Click here to access “How to Talk to Kids About Race”.

NAEYC, Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, Second Edition

Click here to access NAEYC Anti-Bias Education.

Parent Toolkit, “How to Talk to Kids About Race and Racism”

Click here to access the Parent Toolkit.

Are Your Kids Too Young to Talk About Race?

Click here to access “Are Your Kids Too Young to Talk About Race?”

What Can We Do as Parents?

Click here to access “What Can We Do As Parents?”


Book readings:

PBS Live book reading this Friday, 6/5/2020 with Christian Robinson, author of “You Matter”

Click here to access PBS Book Reading of “You Matter” by Christian Robinson.


Book lists/recommendations:

PBS Book List (PBS is constantly updating with suggestions)

Click here to access PBS Book List.

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty

Click here for “Ada Twist, Scientist” by Andrea Beaty

The Conscious Kid Patreon ($1 per month access)

Click here to access The Conscious Kid.