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O.C. Family

Child's Play Can Unleash the Artist

Museums and centers have workshops and classes to stimulate creative energies.


Artistic outlets abound for children throughout Orange County these days. A growing list of museums and science and arts centers offers imaginative and educational crafts workshops and studio classes that run the gamut from technique-based work in painting, drawing and sculpting to an Egyptian-themed archeological "dig," a South American rain forest exhibit and a Victorian Faire.

The after-school and weekend programs give youths opportunities for creative play while serving as a historical and multicultural learning ground.

"It's about exploring different aspects of themselves and the world around them," says Darlene D. DeAngelo, curator of exhibitions and programming at the Huntington Beach Arts Center. "So often children are told, 'Don't touch.' We've found that the kids become mesmerized by the whole hands-on experience."

Activities for children around the county include:

* Discovery Museum of Orange County, 3101 W. Harvard St., Santa Ana, (714) 540-0404:

Tours of the museum's Victorian-era Kellogg House feature crafts projects including greeting cards and decorative fans. Wednesday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m.; Sundays, 11 to 3 p.m. Free with $5 admission. On Sept. 24, the museum holds its annual 1890s Market Day and Faire from noon to 5 p.m. Crafts, demonstrations and workshops by weavers, spinners, blacksmiths and quilters. $5 general admission; $4 if in costume.

* Discovery Science Center, 2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 542-CUBE:

Along with about 100 science-themed interactive exhibits, this "Amusement Park for Your Mind" offers a daily Discovery Activity workshop for children, free with admission. Workshops are 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays; noon to 5 p.m. weekends. This month's activities include papermaking and chromatography, in which children discover scientific principles while turning filter paper into butterflies. In October, the Center offers "Tree Homes," a four-part preschool program for children and parents in which they learn about animals and puppet-making. $45 per series.

* Orange County Museum of Art, 850 San Clemente Drive, Newport Beach, (949) 759-1122:

The museum offers walk-in crafts workshops in clay, fabric, wood and metal for kids ages 6 through 12 from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 16-17. Free with adult admission to the Wells Fargo Pacific Craft Show. In "Lions and Tigers and Bears and You!," children 6 to 12 use animal motifs in painting, stamping and collage. The series of four Tuesday classes runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 19 through Oct. 10. Cost is $45 museum members, $55 general. The Tony DeLap exhibit inspires minimalist art forms in "Shape It! Build It!" The series of four Wednesday classes runs from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 27 through Oct. 18 for kids ages 6 through 12. $45 members, $55 general.

* Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach, (949) 494-8971:

The museum hosts a family art evening the first Thursday of every month coinciding with the city's monthly Laguna Beach Art Walk. The event is free and offered on a drop-in basis from 6 to 9 p.m. This month, children will be painting tile surfaces; in October, making "King for a Day" crowns.

* Bowers Kidseum, 1802 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 480-1520:

"Dig, Discover, and Create" is the Kidseum's latest project, an ongoing educational activity featuring Egyptian art and culture. Children work with clay and create jewelry and musical instruments. Classes run 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturdays through December for children 7 and older; 10:30 a.m. to noon the first Sunday of the month for 4- to 6-year-olds; 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second Sunday of the month for children 7 and older. $10 children, $5 adults. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are required.

* Children's Museum at La Habra, 301 S. Euclid, (562) 905-9793:

The museum hosts Rainforest Day on Oct. 22 in conjunction with its "Creatures of the Dark" exhibit. Children 5 through 12 learn about the rain forest, its inhabitants and environmental concerns while crafting insects, plants, bats and snakes. The workshops are 1 to 5 p.m. and are included with museum admission. (The museum is closed until Sept. 24.)

* Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave., (714) 738-6545:

Monthly "Super Saturday" workshops are held 1 to 3 p.m. for families. Upcoming themes include "Amish Hex Signs" on Oct. 7. Children will learn about the symbolism of the tree of life, the good-luck clover and the pineapple. For children 5 and older. Must be accompanied by an adult. $5 museum members, $6 general.

* Huntington Beach Art Center, 538 Main St., (714) 374-1650:

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