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Art Smarties

Summer courses benefit children



Art classes have many benefits for kids, such as a boost in self-confidence as well as development of fine motor skills.

Gabe Neeld, Center for the Creative Arts

Now that school is out and summer has begun, every kid is ready for the fun and enrichment of an arts experience. Whether your child is a beginner or already has a flair for the creative, the arts provide proven benefits.

New ways of learning

Arts classes offer kids new realms of experience. For example, programs at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ introduce young kids to artistic expression. “Making art fosters creativity and individuality,” explains curator Cassandra Demski. Summer is an ideal time for learning or trying new things and, “of course, making art is fun,” she adds.

In addition to the fun experience, art helps a child develop fine motor skills and also builds neural connections, according to several studies. Making art in a group  “promotes social skills and builds a sense of community,” says Demski.

Children participating in Storytime in the Galleries at Grounds for Sculpture read stories in English and Spanish. The program features an art project taught in both languages with creative expression used to reinforce newly learned basic Spanish vocabulary.

 Revealing interests and passions

Kids can take advantage of Philadelphia’s rich history and art resources through programs such as Saturday classes at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for middle school students. On field trips, kids explore the city’s many historical stories. They turn their observations into art projects and are encouraged to find a unique style and explore new art media. 

At Moore College of Art’s Young Artists Workshops, students in grades 1-12 connect with their creativity and with other young artists during week-long sessions from July to August. Founded in 1921, this program provides a grounding in the visual arts. A faculty of certified art eductors enourage creative self-expression as students learn technical skills.

Confidence building

Another benefit kids will get out of learning about art  — especially for high school students — is a higher confidence level. Gabe Neeld, Program and Camp Director at Delaware’s Center for the Creative Arts, notes that busy teenagers can be challenging to motivate, especially in the summer.

The arts can provide a wide selection of options that boost teens’ confidence through free exploration. “The arts have something for everyone to gain, whether it be artistic or personal,” says Neeld.

Visual arts and performing arts options are suited to every child’s temperament. Kids who prefer to work with others may join theater or music classes. Painting and drawing programs allow inward-focused teens to explore their creativity while emphasizing individuality and artistic freedom. “You choose what to take out of the experience,” says Neeld.

Peyton Pflug is a MetroKids summer intern.

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