In a recent article on the PBS Parents website titled “Connecting with Kids Through Art” by Grace Hwang Lynch, an art class volunteer, she emphasizes the importance of art in children’s lives and offers ways to encourage creativity and art appreciation. While parental engagement is important, many of the suggestions Lynch makes parallel the benefits of arts summer camps.
Arts Summer Camps Develop Creative Expression and Reflection
Lynch’s first suggestion is to “Talk with kids about their creations,” explaining that dialogue about kids’ artwork helps develop competence and confidence. At arts summer camp, counselors acknowledge that processing kids’ reactions and feelings is just as valuable in the creative process as creating the artwork itself. Kids are encouraged to use their imagination not only to create their own artwork, but also to engage with their peers in group projects or one-on-one reflections.
Arts Summer Camps Encourage Focus
Lynch says, “Painting, drawing or sculpting forces us to stop multitasking and focus on the project at hand, as well as the person we’re doing it with.” With all of the distractions around us, even within traditional summer camps where kids can choose volleyball, hiking, swimming, arts and crafts, language courses, or archery, or, or, or – it sometimes feels impossible to sit down and focus on one task. Counselors at arts summer camp encourage children to fully engage in the creation of their masterpieces; to not get frustrated and give up or get distracted if the outcome isn’t perfect. The opportunity to hone this skill in a fun setting like arts summer camp offers a monumental (and increasingly difficult) life skill.
Arts Summer Camps Encourage Appreciation of Diversity and Culture
Finally, Lynch highlights the arts as an expression of culture. Arts summer camps help kids become acquainted with different traditions, holidays, culinary or musical art forms. Some arts summer camps have field trips to local museums (another suggestion on Lynch’s list); and other camps integrate this value into dynamic programs. Kids can touch, hear, or visualize differences before they can express them; the creative use of different mediums helps kids embrace diversity of expression and existence.