The Best Seattle-Area Drop-in Summer Arts and Crafts
Photo: Gina Lee Kim/Flickr
Drop-in summer arts and crafts classes are a wonderful way for children to explore their creativity and dabble in different artistic mediums – sometimes with a masterful artist – all without having to make a big summer camp commitment. And, someone else invents the projects and takes on the mess (high five, parents!).
Bellevue Arts Museum: On Get Crafty Saturdays!, families work together on projects inspired by current exhibits. In August, get inspiration from the Cut Up/Cut Out exhibit and make masks using collage techniques to create patterns and shapes or make a custom, printed journal just in time for back to school. Kids ages 4 to 10; $4 materials fee.
Hands On Children's Museum: The MakeSpace program, led by a museum artist-in-residence, takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Arts & Parts Studio. Families can design, tinker, experiment and create using all sorts of tools, from electric scissors to screen presses to sewing machines. Kids 4 to 10; free with museum admission.
Imagine Children's Museum: Families can get creative in the Art Studio, open during most museum hours. On some days (check online), take part in Art Rocks! crafts, such as kite making, pirate hat creation, and art using watercolors. Kids 4 to 10; free with museum admission.
Kids Discovery Museum: Each week in the Art Studio, explore a new medium or try your hand at a themed activity or new project. Activities are prepared by KiDiMu teachers and are self-guided; materials provided. Note that the space is unavailable through August 24th due to summer camps and may be reserved for special events. Kids 18 months and older with a parent; free with museum admission.
KidsQuest Children's Museum: Play & Paint drop-in sessions take place the first and third Wednesdays of the month, where budding Picassos can splatter, roll and stamp together in open-ended paint exploration. The new Play & Clay drop-in sessions occur on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month where children can explore with ceramics tools and experiment with clay using an array of techniques in this open-ended art. 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All ages; free with museum admission.
Museum of Glass: The second Saturday of each month is Family Day at the museum: Work with an artist on a special project, enjoy activities throughout the museum, watch artists create glass art and enjoy music and dance performances. 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. All ages; free with museum admission.
Seattle Art Museum: As part of the Summer at SAM program at Olympic Sculpture Park, families have both nature and art to inspire them. On Thursday evenings, enjoy food trucks, live music and work with local artists on "SAM Creates" projects, such as mixed-media collages and wearable art in addition to the Kids Corner (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.), where kids can read a book, do a puzzle, or create art. All ages; free.
Seattle Children's Museum: In the Imagination Studio, families can paint, create with clay, or design and build in the museum's recycled sculpture area. Each month, a new project is crafted from the theme of the month. When you arrive at the museum, pick up a free time-ticket for a session in the studio. 10 months to 10 years old; free with museum admission.
Tacoma Art Museum: The TAM Art Studio, open during museum hours, offers opportunities for kids of all ages to explore art concepts, materials, techniques and themes related to the exhibitions. The studio is a help yourself and clean-up-after-yourself affair. All ages; free with museum admission (children age 5 and under free).
Wing Luke Museum: Stop in at Family Fun Days on Saturday, August 20th, for the entertaining Eth-Noh-Tec duo’s storytelling of tales from Asia and the Pacific Islands (10:30 a.m.), an art workshop (11:30 a.m.), and a film screening of Pokémon: The First Movie (1:30 p.m.; Rated G, 102 minutes). All ages; free.
Arts Aloft: Budding artists can learn to express themselves through engaging, creative art projects using mediums including acrylics, charcoals, clay and water colors. Workshops, parties, and camps are also available. Call or email to register. Kids from ages 4 to 12; $30 per class.
AL Studio: Little hands begin by drawing shapes using various mediums like chalk and water colors while teens can learn 3D drawing and painting using advanced mediums like oils in addition to learning how to draw traditional portraits and character animation. Call ahead to learn if there is space available for an on-going class to attend. Kids ages 4 to teens; $35/1.5 hour and $30/one hour for weekly drop-in classes.
Art Maniac Studio: Have the studio come to you! Schedule a lesson in cardboard furniture building (think usable furniture like shelves and baskets!), sewing, or painting with acrylic, watercolor, oil, or mixed media in your own home. Contact Barbara via Facebook to schedule a class. Materials provided. Kids ages 6 to teens; private lessons start at $40 per child for 1.5-hour lesson.
Gage Academy of Art: Gage’s youth program invites young artists to attend its Free Fridays with Teen Art Studios, an evening drop-in studio art program that provides quality art training to students of all skill-levels year-round at either its Capitol Hill location (6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) or at the Bellevue Arts Museum (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.). Various professional working artists visit each month to teach a specific art form. No registration is required and both art supplies and refreshments are provided. Teens ages 13 to 18; free.
KidzWorkshop2: A variety of drop-in classes are available Monday to Saturday for kids age 2 to 10, with drop-off classes for kids 4 and older. The classes explore different media including recycled-art materials, acrylics and other drawing and painting supplies. Longer classes fuel creativity with cookie snacks and summer camps are available. Contact to schedule a visit. One-hour classes start at $30.
Kirkland Arts Center: Housed in the historic Peter Kirk Building, this nonprofit group has been promoting the arts since 1962, including offering a range of art classes for all ages. Parents can bring toddlers age 2 to 4 for 1-hour drop-in classes for which they should “dress to mess.” $10 per class; discount punch card available.
Kruckeberg Botanic Garden: Drop by this Shoreline garden between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Friday for Garden Tots. Enjoy a simple plant activity, a themed garden exploration and a craft project, such as making root puppets, fern prints, seed pod boats and conifer gnomes. Kids ages 2 to 6; $10 per family or free for members.
Open Arts Studio: The “Give It A Spin” class allows children to try their hand at the pottery wheel or handbuilding. Choose a glaze color and the studio’s artists will help trim, glaze, and fire the masterpiece. Materials, tools, glazes, and firings are provided. Call to schedule a private group session (minimum of four people such as two adults and two children or four children). Ages 5.5 years and up; $40.
Seattle ReCreative: This non-profit organization’s mission is to expose kids to creative reuse and arts education. Attend Family Workshops together in the Greenwood neighborhood and use real tools while constructing a marble run or catapult during one of the woodworking workshops (all ages with caregiver) or make a one-of-a-kind creation to enjoy this holiday season (ages 5 and older with caregiver). $35 includes woodworking or sewing materials. You can also visit the "Paint Playground" from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Friday, where tots ages 1 to 5 can alternate between both an art-making space and creative play area. Purchase a six-class punch card for $50 or drop in for $10 a day. (Starting September 1st, prices will change to $12 for first child and $6 for siblings or $60 for a six-session class pass.)
Schack Art Center: Pop on over to the “Make It Now” glassblowing experience where a skilled team of glassblowers help aspiring artists create his own piece of glass art in a whopping 30 minutes or less! Each time slot is dedicated per one student so if you plan on taking more than one kiddo, make sure to register each child for his respective time slot. Kids ages 8 & up. Memberships available for discount classes.
The Bellevue Studio: Preschoolers through teens receive classical fine arts training at the Bellevue Studio, which has locations in downtown Bellevue and the Crossroads Mall. They offer drop-on afternoon and evening classes that includes lessons in chalk and pastel drawings in an intimate setting providing the opportunity for individualized instruction. Call either location or visit website for schedule details. Kids ages 3.5 years to teens; 1 to 1.5-hour sessions start at $35.75 to $47.75.
Glass and Pottery Projects: Who doesn't love a keepsake handprint? Visit Paint the Town in University Village offers free projects throughout the year (check its website for details). Drop-ins are welcome at Seattle's Emerald City Fired Arts summer camps, where kids ages 6 and older work on clay projects, bisque painting, mosaic and glass fusion (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; call for details; $65/session). Seattle Mosaic Arts offers "Kid's Clinics" on select weekend days, when children younger than 12 create a mosaic masterpiece with an adult (projects start at $45).
The Home Depot: Children learn do-it-yourself skills as they make wooden projects select Saturdays of each month. Participants leave with their project, an apron, commemorative pin, and certificate achievement while supplies last. Pre-registration is recommended. Kids ages 5 to 12.
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft: Young people of varying skill levels can learn how to sew, quilt, knit or decorate cookies in an array of workshops. Call your neighborhood store to see about the project. Kids ages 5 and up; classes start at $35.
Michaels: There are crafting sessions at Michaels stores through their Kids Club program. Kids make a backpack tag, a craft stick bi-plane, abstract sculptures, and more. Ages 3 and up; $2 per workshop; pre-register and see schedule online.
Snapdoodle Toys: Starting back up in mid-September, both Redmond and Kenmore stores offer Paint-Me-A-Story event with storytelling while painting every Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Preschoolers and up; free. Pre-registration recommended.
Editor's note: This updated article was originally published in June of 2014.