After School    

Encourage your family's interest in art and music

Getting more art in your family's life can broaden your horizons while bringing everyone closer together.

"A very good way to get children interested in the arts, be it dance, music, theater or visual arts, is by exposure," says Ploi Pagdalian, senior director of programs, Early Childhood for Young Audiences of Indiana, a provider of professional arts education programs.

Get involved in the arts!

Attend community events, experience a performance, or view an art exhibit. Afterwards, follow-up with a casual discussion using open-ended questions to invite critical thinking, suggests Pagdalian.

Make the experience personal for your child by asking "What was your favorite part of the whole performance?" and "Why do you like/dislike that part of the performance?"

Ask them: "If you can be a part of it, which part would you like to do?"

Follow-up activities at home can reinforce the experience and encourage interest. Play music that is similar to that heard at the performance; view videos of dance and theatrical presentations; and provide children easy access to a variety of visual arts experiences through books and materials.

What kind of arts are kids into?

The library or local bookstores has plenty of resources one can take home and leave on the coffee table for casual perusal, says Pagdalian.

Provide art materials such as colored and plain paper, markers, watercolor and watercolor paper, and various drawing tools like pens, pencils, markers, chalk and pastels.

Discussions surrounding these experiences help children stay interested and repeat exposure reinforces the learning experience.