I’ve heard a lot of talk among my parental peers lately about “Summer Brain Drain.” Perhaps it’s because we’ve exhausted our conversations about which middle schools are best, summer camps, and where to find zippered binders with straps that this topic is on our minds. To combat “Brain Drain” or the “Summer Slide,” as it’s also known, parents and educators have come up with all sorts clever ways to keep nine months of learning from leaking out of Junior’s ears during the summer break. There are reading lists, book reports, math worksheets, and even academic camps designed to combat the effects of endless hours of Netflix and video games. But along with those math drills and Flat Stanley reports it’s also important the kids flex their creative muscles as well this summer. Research shows kids who participate in the arts can often improve in other academic areas. But then again, you already knew that, right?
Here are some events to help kiddos stay in touch with their artistic side this summer.
Speaking of reading lists, here’s a great way for you to introduce your kids to the film version of a literary classic. The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, as part of their Sunset Cinema series, will be screening “To Kill a Mockingbird” this Friday night. The free event happens on the front lawn of the museum so you can bring a picnic, and a blanket and enjoy the film under the stars. The lawn opens at 6 p.m. and film begins at 8:30 p.m.
Join MAP (Make Art with Purpose) this weekend at the Pleasant Grove Library for the Use Your Voice Neighborhood Art Festival, a pop-up event designed to to connect people and ideas through the arts, across race, cultures, ethnicities and neighborhoods. The three-day event is cram packed with all sorts of opportunities to experiment and create, including workshops lead by Oil and Cotton in mixed-media, poetry, and poster and zine making. You can also catch music from local bands, spoken word exhibitions, and the North Texas El Camino Car Club will be there with restored and tricked out cars. Activities take place in the MAP Mobile Pavilion outside the library which serves as a art making space during the day, and a stage and performance space at night. In between workshops and performances you can gather at the pavilion for reading and conversation.
Get those creative juices flowing this weekend at SPARK!. In case you’re not familiar, SPARK! is a creative environment for kids located in the sub-basement of the South Side on Lamar building. The space features a climb, crawl, and slide sculpture which spans over 6,000 feet and climbs 26 feet toward the ceiling. In addition to the spectacular sculpture, kids can also explore pop-up activities like a giant Light Bright, recycled art, chalk art, poetry magnets and percussion. The space is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is for recommended for children in 2nd grade through high school.
Theater kids, and even non-theater kids, should check out the Junior Players‘ production of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” The Junior Players love to mix it up their productions and this show is no different. In this contemporary version, the hot-tempered, post-millennial bride is whisked off to Nebraska (rather than the Italian countryside) to be tamed. In addition to it being a great conversation starter for discussions in feminism, it’s also the perfect introduction to the Bard. See it this weekend at Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre — an ideal setting for outdoor theatrics. You can bring a picnic dinner to enjoy before the show and relax in the park-like setting. If the kids get restless, head up the hill to enjoy the cool breeze and an ice cream.
Kids ages 12-18 can find their voice and learn the fine art of spoken word poetry this Saturday at the Writer’s Garret Slam Camp. Through interactive exercises, quick writes, writing prompts, and modeling they’ll get a first-hand look at how to create a performance or slam poem as unique as they are.