Raising a Cultured Kid: Creative Classes for Toddlers & Preschoolers

Classes for lil' lasses (and lads) are not likely to make your preschooler proficient at an activity, but many are still worthwhile. For one, you're making use of the city and you're getting your bubbulah out there and acclimated to all those other bubbulahs. And it's one teeny step toward ultimately developing what will hopefully become a lifelong passion for something.


Museum programs

Pretty much any class, series or workshop offered at a children's museum will be geared to this age group and a sure bet. But did you know that just about every museum '- "adult" ones included '- sponsor loads of excellent family activities, most free with the price of admission? Houston's Museum of Fine Arts has gratis Family Days, filled with storytelling, performances, a creation station and a drop-in studio workshop. Atlanta's High Museum has its Toddler Thursday classes that beckon children ages two to five to view works of art and then create masterpieces to take home. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's monthly Family Studio, kids can spend three hours in hands-on activity linked to the museum's collections. Why spend your hard-earned money on costly arts and crafts classes when you can get free instruction from experts in programs such as these?


Kiddie yoga 

The whole yoga craze is so popular that when Mattel comes out with an Ashram Barbie, we'll hardly be surprised. Studios geared only to kids have been popping up across the country. And there seems to be good reason for the fanfare. Enthusiasts laud the many perceived benefits of yoga: It teaches kids early on to "listen to" and control their bodies through breathing techniques; the exercise promotes coordination, flexibility and strength while relieving stress; its mix of physical mastery and a noncompetitive nature can be an important tool for building self-esteem. In addition, the inward focus, they say, provides their aspiring yogis with a much-needed time-out from city stresses.

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