Ease children into the arts for a lifetime of appreciation

artsA love for the arts and culture begins at a young age. By exposing your children to various aspects of the art world and encouraging their creative inclinations at home, you are ensuring a life-long appreciation that will be beneficial as they move into adulthood.

Whether they grow to become lawyers, doctors, teachers or marine biologists, their exposure to the arts will help them to think outside of the box and learn to express themselves creatively throughout their life.

Although some parents may think their children are too young to appreciate formal art and cultural exhibitions, children of all ages can enjoy, learn and be inspired by taking part. By following some of these simple suggestions, your next adventure to your local museum, art gallery or science centre is sure to be fun-filled for the whole family.

  • Before you set out on your excursion, research and discuss with your children ahead of time what you will be seeing and try to relate it to something they are already familiar with.

    For example, if you're planning an outing to the aquarium, watch Finding Nemo a few days before and talk about all of the colourful aquatic life that is seen in the film.

    Similarly, if you're going to be visiting an art gallery encourage them to create their best Picasso and sketch or paint a picture of something that inspires them. Or, encourage them to decorate some picture frames and display them in their bedroom to showcase their talents and one of their favourite photographs.
  • Try building a scavenger hunt into your day at each cultural institution that you visit. Read up on what will be on display as part of the exhibitions and write out a list of things for them to find while you're there. At the end, they will feel a sense of accomplishment and be more likely to retain what they learned during the outing.
  • Often times, the cultural institutions we visit are so large that the experience can be daunting, even for adults. To keep focused and avoid getting overwhelmed, try visiting the gift shop at the beginning instead of at the end of your visit.

    By seeing the posters, games and memorabilia about all of the highlights, you can really engage your child's attention and get them excited about the upcoming sites and sounds that they will be exploring inside.

Now that you have the tips in place to start nurturing an appreciation of the arts among your children, don't for a minute worry that these newfound adventures are going to cost a bundle. Just the opposite. In fact, this spring the Kellogg's Adventure Pass is making it easier and more affordable than ever for everyone to discover family fun at their local cultural institution.

In partnership with the Canadian Museums Association (CMA), the Adventure Pass is a coupon valid for up to $10 off admission at more than 500 participating museums, science centres and zoos across Canada. The pass can be found throughout the month of April on specially marked boxes of Kellogg's cereals and is valid for use until December 30, 2009. Visit www.kelloggsadventurepass.ca for details.

This spring, get out there and instill a love and appreciation of the arts among your children by making it a family affair. You'll be amazed at how much you all learn and how much fun you can have experiencing it all together as a family, too.

Credit: www.newscanada.com