Raising a Cultured Kid: Creative Classes for Grade-Schoolers

This is a great age to start figuring out who your child is. We're strong supporters of parents who make the effort to identify their children's passions (or at least strong likes); if we had our way, every child would have a lifelong interest in some branch of the arts or some kind of athletic endeavor. But we're willing to bet that most people tend to channel their kids into the same spectrum of grade-school activities: piano, swimming, ice-skating, ballet, some martial-arts variant and chess. And that may be fine and sufficient, but just in case you want to expose your child to a few more (or different) interests, here are a some completely age-appropriate places to look:

Museum art classes

Many parents don't even think of looking at art institutions for classes in drawing, painting and mixed media, but those that are offered are usually well conceived and executed. (Photo: Hands-on museum exploration with Judith Shupe of Art Smart Adventures. © ArtSmart Adventures)

Theater and dance company classes

Why not have your child taught by people who pursue their art for a living? Many top companies offer starter classes for this age group that stress fundamentals in a way a storefront class may not. Even if your child is unlikely to be a professional thespian or hoofer, there are benefits to getting kids to focus on voice and movement.

The Adventure Theater in D.C. offers classes for kids as young as six, emphasizing the use of their voices and bodies on stage and benefiting both the shy and overly boisterous.

Choruses and choirs

If your child likes singing, there's no better experience for him than being part of a choir. Boston Children's Chorus, for instance, can be joined in second grade, and its multiracial, multicultural bent makes it a really broadening experience for everyone involved.

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