In the last two weeks, I touched upon the benefits of the arts in the educational
process. Following are ideas to incorporate them into your home life:
1. When you read to your children, be dramatic. Act out stories with props
and costumes. Encourage them to create their own stories to act out for
2. Save old Halloween costumes for dress-up fun. Add to the collection
with clothing you no longer need: hats, scarves, purses, shoes, and items
you can find inexpensively at garage sales.
3. Put together an “art studio” in your home. Stock it with a variety of
tools and materials: crayons, markers, fingerpaints, scissors, pastels,
watercolors, brushes, glues, papers of various sizes and textures, intriguing
found objects, leftovers from your own home improvement, boxes and containers
of all sizes.
4. Expand your musical repertoire at home and in the car. Venture into
unknown musical territory so that you and the children can hear something
out of your usual fare. This can be easily expanded by turning to different
radio stations and by checking out cassettes and CDs from the public library
-- all for free!
5. While the music is playing at home, dance together. Teach your children
traditional dances you know or improvise with them. Body movement is fun
and good exercise.
6. Sing together. Teach the kids your favorite songs. Many of them allow
for verses that can be made up, such as “Down by the Bay,” which can have
an endless and hilarious number of rhymes added to it.
7. Look for arts programs after school, on weekends, and during vacations.
Many community park and recreation departments offer these. Summer camps
based on the arts are a good departure from the typical competitive sports
8. Create a scrapbook together. Put photos, memorabilia, drawings, and
captions together creatively. In doing so, you will not only have a shared
experience but a memory that will last for many years (if you use acid-free
The most important ingredient in the recipe is your interest. Be there
appreciate and encourage
during every step of the creative process.
This column has been incorporated into Teach Your Children Well: A Teacher’s
Advice for Parents.