Summer is just around the corner, when Southern Nevada families strive to fill their children’s vacation months with productive activities. Many might not know that arts-related activities can play an important role with advancing children’s development. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts reports that engaging children in creative activities helps develop their motor skills, language, decision making, visual learning and more.
Many families also might not be aware that opportunities abound for children and families to enjoy arts-related programs in Southern Nevada throughout the summer and even year-round. These include programs offered by the nonprofit The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Southern Nevada’s world-class performing arts center.
Educational (and fun) arts-based activities for children in our community include:
This pedestrian-friendly block party on the first Friday of each month in downtown Las Vegas showcases a variety of pieces from local art galleries, with plenty of music and food on hand to keep kids’ attention. This is a great way to introduce children to art, without needing to use indoor voices.
Programs at The Springs Preserve
The Springs Preserve offers many programs throughout the summer and the year that connect the arts and sciences, including weekly storytelling sessions and drop-in craft activities, such as painting flower pots for Earth Day. The organization also regularly hosts events celebrating different cultures.
Exhibits at the Discovery Children’s Museum
Creativity and learning collide at this museum’s many hands-on exhibits. These include a Fantasy Festival exhibit, where young children can explore dramatic creations with a life-size ship, castle and stage, and even build a customized throne while enjoying a puppet show. The Young at Art exhibit invites kids to create their own children’s book.
Performing & Visual Arts Summer Camp for Kids – West Las Vegas Arts Center
This eight-week, arts-intensive leadership program for children ages 10 to 15 provides community youth with opportunities for civil engagement and social justice projects through various arts education disciplines.
Camp Broadway – The Smith Center for the Performing Arts
Children will get bit by the theater bug at this week-long musical theater program in July, which includes the Mainstage Camp for youth ages 10 to 17, and the Shining Stars Camp for kids ages 6 to 9. Participants will be taught acting, choreography and singing by experienced theater professionals, including Broadway performers, with all of the children participating in finale performances for friends and family.
Children don’t have to be into the performing arts to enjoy themselves and benefit from this experience. Aiming to develop participants’ character, the camp also teaches children about teamwork and builds their social, emotional, ethical and creative skills, which will help them perform successfully at every stage of life.
For more information about The Smith Center, including Camp Broadway and additional Education and Outreach programs, please visit www.thesmithcenter.com.
By: Candy Schneider, vice president of Education and Outreach, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts