Exposing Kids to the Arts During Summer Break


Q: I'd like to take advantage of the extra time we have this summer. What are the best ways to expose our children to the arts?

A: It is a simple fact that funding for the arts in schools is dropping, reducing the time spent on them. Having fewer opportunities to explore the arts is a shame, because the arts play an important role in children's math, reading, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. And there is the inescapable fact that the arts can bring joy as well as learning fun to children, resulting in the creation of a satisfying interest in them throughout their lives. Our summer learning activities are designed to take up the slack from the disappearing arts programs in schools. Here are some ideas of ways to get kids interested in the arts:

1. Dance is a great way to gain better balance and coordination. Put on different kinds of music and just respond to the beat. Or watch shows with dancing, from ballet to "Dancing With the Stars."

2. Explore the theater. Search the newspaper or online for local productions by theater groups and colleges to give your children a taste of what theater is like. Try to attend a production or see a rehearsal.

3. Introduce your children to sculpture. Children can use a variety of materials to create sculptures, such as Play-Doh, sand, wood, Styrofoam, rocks, soap, paper, Legos, Tinkertoys and ornaments.

Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com or visit dearteacher.com.

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