14 Ways to keep your kids creative all summer long


Ada Kysar learns to throw pots at the YMCA Camp Warren in Eveleth

Photo credit: David Searl

What are your kids doing this summer? How do you balance letting them enjoy their time off from school with keeping their minds actively engaged? For some, the answer lies in summer camps and classes that are really really fun.

Here’s a list of artsy summer programs that come with recommendations from folks in the know. Click on the links to learn more.

1. The College of Visual Arts offers summer classes for youth age 12 – 14 and 15 – 18, including portraiture, photography, illustrating children’s books, digital video, and monotype printmaking.

2. The Children’s Theatre Company offers a full range of classes in the performing arts for kids age 3 to 18.

3. In St. Cloud, Great Theatre also offers an extensive theater arts program for kids 3 and up.

4. Ditto for the Duluth Playhouse.

5. The Brave New Workshop offers week-long improv camps for youth (9-12) and teens (13-17).

6. Several people recommended clay camps at Northern Clay Center.

7. The Loft Literary Center offers classes in writing plays, myths and fairy tales. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts (located in the same building in Minneapolis) offers classes in printing, bookmaking and even creating your own comics.

8. The Walker Art Center offers free first Saturdays and Tuesday playdates with programming designed to encourage your kids’ creativity.

9. Your kid can help beautify the community by helping create a mural in Minneapolis with the Aldrich Arts Collaborative.

10. Leonardo’s Basement offers its perennial favorites LEGO Robotics and Giant Cardboard Castle along with Scientists in the Kitchen and To Infinity & Beyond!

11. Zenon Dance offers summer classes in everything from ballet to hip hop.

12. The Maple Grove Arts Center offers a five week Art Adventures camp, featuring a new art activity every Tuesday.

13. The Friends School of Minnesota offers a wide array of summer classes, including show choir, weaving, photography and plein air watercolor.

14. Last but not least, several different institutions have banned together this summer to create the Twin Cities Culture Camp this August, which will introduce kids to theatre, printmaking, dance, book arts, and puppetry. Depending on their age, kids will focus on themes of “Monster Jam,” “Wild Safari,” and “Myths and Legends.”

So that’s a pretty good start for someone looking to keep their kid creatively occupied this summer. Have something you’d like to add? Share it in the comments section.

  • Youth Performance Company also has summer classes and workshops until August 26 for kids grades K – 12. Check out the class offerings on the website: http://www.youthperformanceco.org.

  • Also, check out the Monkey Mind Pirates! camp at Camden Music School (http://www.camdenmusicschool.com/MonkeyMinds.htm) combining yoga, puppetry and songwriting for kids ages 7-11.

    July 25-30.

  • Jenn

    One of our favorites is the StageCoach theatre arts camp in St. Paul. Acting, dancing & singing all in one place for kids 6-16. http://www.stagecoachcamps.com

  • Marianne Combs

    Keep the suggestions coming! I’ll save this info, and put out a more complete list for next summer…

  • Monica

    Urban Arta Academy- South Minneapolis

    AM and PM day camps that are fun and educational!

  • Marianne Combs

    FYI – I just corrected the headline to “14” – turns out I had two #4s…

  • Andrea Klaassen

    The Bell Museum of Natural History at the UofM offers a huge collection of Science Discovery Camps with fun themes, including “Boom Boom POW! Backyard Chemistry for Beginners” and “Bunnies of Steel – The World of Baby Animals” to name a few!