Three arts-savvy ideas worthy of applause

So, your child’s not the kickball type? No sweat. These three artistic options will enrich, inspire and cultivate the heck out of your Chi-town kid come summer.

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago

File this one under “Things Every Grownup Chicagoan Would Love to Do”: SAIC’s summer camps are the stuff of creative dreams. Utilizing a variety of artistic materials and methods, your smallish artists (ages 4-9) will become adept at crafting, problem-solving and exploring the Art Institute’s extensive collections. And with experimentation in painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, printmaking, digital art and more in one- and two-week camps, you’ll be ensuring they grow up knowing there’s so much more to “art” than just oil on canvas.

Old Town School of Folk Music

Chicago kids really don’t know how marvelously they have it; the beloved (and prestigious) Old Town School of Folk Music manages to combine skill and whimsy in arts camps for ages 4-15. Kids 4-6 will become well-versed in opera and Elvis, to name a few, and kids 7-11 will find their tween footing with everything from DIY design to punk rock, playwriting and mythology. As for those hard-to-impress teens? The new skills learned from stage combat, musical theater and scoring for films will provide terrific material for “What I did on my summer vacation.”

Hubbard Street’s Youth Dance Program

If you have a child seriously in love with dance (and you’re serious about a childhood summer full of fun, growth in a physical and artistic discipline, and loads of fresh air), look no further than one of the country’s most celebrated dance troupes. Hubbard Street’s camps for newbies and not-so newbies offer choices for the footloose and fancy free in your household; Dance Explorers (ages 5-9) camps are week-long forays into a choice of ballet, musical theater, contemporary jazz, hip-hop and West African dance. The Junior Intensive (ages 9-13) offers a more comprehensive blend of the elements involved in contemporary dance, namely ballet, jazz and modern. An energetic outlet and formal training with a ridiculously impressive company? Now that’s raising the barre.

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