family activities

An abbreviated version of this list is also available as a PDF.

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In addition to advocating for and supporting a strong arts program in your school district, you can help your child enjoy the arts outside of school by participating together at home, checking out resources online, or taking advantage of your community's cultural resources.

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At Home

  • Play different kinds of music from the radio or your own collection and encourage your child to enjoy singing and dancing along to the music with you.

  • Help your child understand art forms intrinsic to your own culture, ancestry, and heritage. Talk about family members that had a particular talent or interest in an art form; maybe Grandpa loved to sing or Uncle John was a good storyteller. Encourage your relatives to share their artistic passions with your child.

  • Paper and pencils/markers/crayons offer children the chance to express themselves. Drawing and writing alongside your child will help them see that you value these activities as well.

  • Check out books from the library that tell stories about visual artists, dancers, actors, and musicians. This will introduce your child to the arts and help them feel like they "know" various artists.

  • Public  television offers cultural programming for adults and children alike.

  • Let your child practice photography on a disposable, digital, or camera phone. Talk to your child about composing a photograph—what is included and what is cut out through the choice of the photographer? Work together on creating family photo albums or other thematic collections.

  • Make videos together. Try organizing the shots ahead of time to tell a story as in filmmaking.

  • Share poems that you enjoy and help your child feel the rhythm in them poems. Write poetry using an organized system or verse, or by adding new words to an existing poem. Create found poetry using your favorite words from other literary sources.


  • If it’s hard to find resources in your community, check out exhibits online. If you don't have a computer at home, local libraries offer free access to the Internet.

  • The Kennedy Center's website has an amazing collection of performing arts videos.

  • Google Art Project gives you the ability to not only tour some of the world’s most famous museums with their indoor street view, but their gigapixel technology will also allow you to look at select works of art so close that you can even see the cracks in the paint! 

    Note: If you are using Internet Explorer, you will need to install the Chrome Frame in order for the Google Art Project site to load.

  • Tinkerlab offers many hands on activities and projects to do with your child that will expand their observation and imagination skills.

In Your Community

  • Most communities have arts festivals, craft fairs, and seasonal celebrations that feature music and dancing. The more opportunity children have to see the arts in action, the more ideas they will get about how they can participate and contribute.

  • Attend presentations in the arts at your local schools, colleges, and universities. Colleges and universities often produce calendars of activities that you can call and request or look for online. Costs are free or lower than most professional venues.

  • Attend presentations at professional venues to help your child experience artistic excellence. There are many types of professional arts performances—everything from opera, ballet, and musical theater to hip hop, flamenco, and African drumming.

  • Many communities have museums where you and your child can look at art of different kinds. Feel free to ask museum employees to tell you about the particular works of art you are seeing. Museums often offer special events and classes at free or reduced rates and sometimes also offer musical and dramatic programming as well.

  • Enroll in classes that teach drawing, dance, musical instruments, singing, or theater skills. There are some classes that parents and children can take together. Private teachers and studios offer lessons, but less-costly arts opportunities can also be found through local Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Girl Scouts, and libraries, to name just a few. Contact your local arts agency to ask for leads to community organizations that offer classes. Many community arts organizations also offer lessons on a sliding scale.