Summer break is wrapping up and soon it’ll be back to the books. And guess what: art helps kids succeed in school. According to PBS, when kids regularly participate in the arts, they’re much more likely to win academic awards and participate in math and science fairs. So before jumping back into school, here are some ideas to get their minds warmed up by thinking creatively with art.
Participate in museum summer art activities
Museums are a great way to bring art into kids’ lives year-round, but did you know that some of them offer specific summer programs geared toward kids? The Dallas Museum of Art offers daily activities that include family tours, story time, and scavenger hunts. Bay Area Discovery Museum outside of San Francisco offers weekly summer camps for kids from preschool through 9th grade.
Get a book and head to the park
Take a different approach to a day at the park. There are many books geared toward teaching kids about great artists through history. It’s like the artistic alternative to flash cards. And learning together with them with a picnic lunch on the grass in between turns on the swings maybe be a lot easier than testing their patience in a fine arts museum.
Local markets and fairs
Knowing about Picasso and Monet is a must, but summer offers a great chance to learn about artists you’ve never heard of (and live nearby!) through local summer markets, which are packed full of live performances and local artists displaying and selling their work. Instead of walking past the art vendors to get to the deep fried Oreos, stop at the booths and encourage your kids to talk to the artists themselves. You may even find some inspiration for the next tip…
Have an old fashioned DIY day
This classic will probably bring back some memories for you. Start the morning with a trip to a craft store, give your kid a budget (may as well teach them about money, too!), and let them go wild picking paints, brushes, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, glitter, construction paper, and anything else that sparks an idea. Then spend the afternoon together making their next masterpiece. Too nice out to stay indoors? Get some sidewalk chalk and spend a sunny afternoon making murals in the driveway.
See (or produce!) a musical
Take a break from the movie theater and go see something live. And while plays are great, musicals with acting, singing, and dancing really engage a kid’s creative mind and hold their attention. It’s almost impossible to get tickets to Hamilton, but local theater can be just as fun (and cheaper!). Plus, many local theater companies have special summer programs with productions geared toward families and kids. Want to take it a step further? Use that DIY day to create some props for your own backyard production.
Okay, this one isn’t as easy as the others, but even a small weekend trip can turn up a new art experience. We’ll bet a quick Google search can turn up museums, tours, and landmarks with an art angle within driving distance. Or find an artist’s childhood home that’s been turned into a museum with tours and activities for families and plan a weekend to their home city. Other surprises like galleries and public art displays may find their way into your trip, too.
What sort of summer activities do you love to do with your kids that inspire them to be creative and embrace their inner artist? Share it here or tell us on social media using #TheArtSpark. We’ll share your ideas with our community.