Why and where children need to get creative this summer

Summer brings long lazy days without school and with fewer responsibilities.

And that opens up more time for children and families to explore their creativity.  We want to share why that is important and where families with children may find creative activities in metro Detroit.

First the why it matters.   Creating art in school may increase learning, and improve writing skills and empathy, researchers in Houston found. And coloring brings a host of benefits, which we shared in this blog post

“”Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and connected to the world,” Christianne Strang, a professor of neuroscience at the University of Alabama Birmingham told NPR.  Making art also can help children and adults visualize a hopeful future and navigate current emotional or other problems.

We often see children become calm and happy when they’re creating with us.

Next, the where to go portion. This can take some navigating and advance planning, but we start with Mint’s drop in arts and crafts.

Art in the Parks.  Mint Artists Guild believes in creativity for children – and we bring it on through the summer months.  We have scheduled them around the city, thanks to support from the Detroit Pistons, MSU Federal Credit Union Desk Drawer Fund, Bedrock Detroit and others:

  • Palmer Park on Wednesday afternoons 4 – 5:30 pm.
  • Pingree Park on Thursday afternoons 4 to 5:15, starting July 7.
  • Clark Park on Friday mornings 11 – 12:15 pm starting July 8.
  • Monroe Street Midway downtown, 1 – 2:15 pm underway since Memorial Day.

Art camps.  A wide variety of half day to week-long camps encourage creativity and art-making, acting, improv,  and more.  Most are held in the suburbs, though the National Conference of Artists – Michigan has a good one in Detroit aimed at tweens and early teens.  (Contact Electra@ncamich.org for more details on this four week student art camp.) Look at DiscoverYourSpark,  a directory of regional after school and summer programs for children and youth. Or check out offerings in your local Parks and Rec Department – including Detroit’s here –  or a nonprofit art center.

A girl coloring with Mint Artists Guild feels calm and creative. (Photo: Dayana Juarez)

Art classes.   These may take place in businesses or nonprofits or in artist studios. Birmingham – Bloomfield Art Center offers an array of classes for children and teens, and camps too. Or check out Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment classes for children ages 7 to 12, on Saturdays this summer.  All of these require registration ahead of time.

Drawing in the galleries.  This art-full evening at the Detroit Institute of Arts gives artists of all ages the opportunity to draw, assisted by a professional artist hired by the DIA. This usually happens on Friday evenings; check the DIA events pages  for specific times.

Music programs.  The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Northwest Goldberg are offering free music programs for children 10 years and younger Fridays in July . Learn more and register here.   Mosaic Youth Theater offers one-day mobile music and performance camps this year around metro Detroit.  Details and register here.

Pistons Neighbors in Parks.   The Detroit Pistons are bringing dance, puppets, theater – and sports activities of course – to five Detroit parks this summer:  Chandler, Palmer, Pingree, Romanski and Rouge parks.  Detroit Puppet Company, Motor City Street Dance Academy, Black and Brown Theatre and Watercolor Connections will offer sessions for all ages.  Mint is part of this initiative in two parks.  Many of the activities take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; check the Pistons calendar for details.

We know we missed wonderful creative opportunities. So we’d love to hear of other free or very low cost programs in and near Detroit – and we will add them to this post soon.

Photo:  Sarah Cremerling for Mint Artists Guild