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7 Fun Summer Activities for Little Artists

No Time For Flash Cards

Most of the time our little artists need no input from us to express themselves, but there are lots of ways we can broaden their creative endeavors by introducing them to a variety of artful experiences both at home and around Seattle this summer.

My youngest son loves to paint and my oldest is most alive when he is having a nightly dance party before bed. Whether your child's favorite way to express themself is through painting, dance or another art form, here are some ideas to broaden their exposure to the arts and keep their creative juices flowing:


1.) Paint.

Painting projects can happen on the fly if you have three basic supplies on hand: brushes, paints and paper. If you have a set of watercolor paints, take a look at this video for painting techniques your whole family can try. The Artful Parent blog is a great resource for a whole slew of painting projects. You can also plan to hit the Seattle Art Museum for family art fun on select Saturdays of each month. The SAM's family program, designed for kids ages 3 though 12, provides art projects and kid-inspired tours of the gallery. Details and online calendar can be found here.


2.) Craft.

We are lucky to have instant access to amazing craft projects curated by popular Seattle bloggers such as Make and Takes and No Time for Flash Cards. These prolific crafters, educators and parents share projects for every age, theme and season. Start collecting your jar lids and bottle tops for this recycled craft project inspired Kandinsky's color study with concentric circles. Another project perfect for summer is this frisbee craft. Plan a good chunk of time visiting these blogs - by the time you click away, you'll be all set with craft projects for the rest of summer.


3.) Act.

My kids are finally old enough to create their own scenarios and act them out and no extra supplies are needed when we keep an open mind about using household objects as props. Seattle also has an abundance of opportunities to experience live theater. Head on over to the Seattle Children's Theatre or the Northwest Puppet Center for family shows or give your child the opportunity to participate in summer theater projects and camps through Wedgwood Drama Studio or The Moonpaper Tent.


4.) Music.

Celebrating music is effortless at home. Turn on tunes, get out the pots and pans and find your family's rhythm. The Crafty Crow has a great list of DYI instruments - bongo drums, shakers, water bells and more. This roundup of homemade instruments you can make with kids will have you ready to start a family band. And for learning new songs, take a parent and child class at Studio 3 Music. You can join a class mid-session and have your tuition prorated.


5.) Draw. 

Thrive Art School

Drawing is always a fun outlet for expression. Take it up a notch and make a sketchbook. Plan an outing to the Seattle Japanese Garden in the Arboretum and spend the afternoon drawing what you see. You can also join a camp at Thrive Art School or bring a drawing teacher right into your home with Thrive Art Online classes that can be taken anytime and anywhere via laptop, tablet or smart phone. A free class can be taken here.


6.) Dance.

Dancing is something my whole family loves and if you have the gumption to get down in public, definitely check out a Casper Babypants concert. You can also mark your calendar for Bumbershoot, North America's largest urban arts festival where you can spend Labor Day weekend dancing to most any musical genre. For some formal dance instruction and to learn specific styles, take classes the Creative Dance Center or All that Dance.


7.) Sculpt. 

For even more artful ideas, stop by the Seattle Public Library and pick up some arts and crafts books for kids, or rent a DVD on the life of a famous artist or dancer. Include your kids in the process of selecting books, exhibits and activities and watch your little artists' creativity soar!There are so many ways your child can make 3-D art at home. Clay, paper, recycled or found objects are all fair game when it comes to making sculptures with your kids. This paper sculpture project is perfect for a summer afternoon - all you need is some strips of colored paper, scissors and glue or tape. Homemade play dough is always fun or pick up some clay at your local arts and crafts store and have a look at Sculpey.com for endless inspiration for creating with clay. Around town, you can visit the Olympic Sculpture Park to view art installations and participate in free art activities and events. Check out the SAM's website for a calendar of events.


Theresa Harris is founder of Thrive Art School in Seattle and Thrive Art Online, an online art program for kids. Thrive Art School offers year round art classes, workshops and summer camps for kids age 3 and up in Seattle's Ravenna and Madison Valley neighborhoods, as well as their recently launched online art program for kids.


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