October is National Arts and Humanities Month. While you might think that your kids are too young to participate, even preschoolers can start learning about the importance of the arts and culture in everyday life! Exposing kids to various experiences and different people is a great way to help them learn about their own culture, personal expression and ways that art can make a difference. Here are some activities that you might enjoy doing with your children this month:
- Go see a play. There may be a children’s theater putting on a production this month. In our area, the elementary school children are going to see Alice in Wonderland; last year, they saw Annie. High schools often put on plays in October or November, as well.
- Visit an art museum. While many young children can’t handle hours of looking at exhibits, they may be interested in certain areas of your local art museum. Ask the curator which paintings or sculptures may appeal to little ones, then follow your child’s lead. Paintings featuring animals are often a hit with kids.
- Begin taking music lessons. My daughter started taking guitar lessons earlier this year, and I’m impressed with her progress so far! Not only do music lessons give kids a sense of accomplishment along with other benefits, but they introduce children to music, which is an important part of any well-rounded education.
- Go see a concert. Schools often put on concerts in the winter and spring, but you may be able to find an orchestra concert at a local community college. Listening to different types of music is another way to introduce your child to various sounds and instruments.
- Visit various ethnic restaurants. Even picky eaters can often find something they like, such as dishes based on rice, pasta or potatoes. While you’re there, try to talk to your server or the owner, and when you get home, look up the country to which the cuisine belongs.
- Try to catch an art festival. In some parts of the country, these occur in the winter or spring, so keep it in mind for the future. Over the past couple of years, we’ve gone to several art festivals with the kids, including one that featured sidewalk chalk artists. They’re usually held outside and there’s a lot of noise and interesting things to do, so your kids will stay entertained and won’t bother anybody by talking loudly or needing to move around.
- Try your hand at various art forms. Consider origami, painting Chinese lanterns, mosaic, pottery and other things that you may not have introduced your child to yet.
Exposing your child to various art forms is important for developing a sensitivity and understanding to other cultures, their own culture, and the way that people express themselves. Encourage self-expression and enjoy introducing various facets of art during Arts and Humanities month!