We're getting into those dog days of summer. Your kids are only a couple of weeks out of school, and you're already losing your mind. How can someone so small have so much energy? Well, to paraphrase Meryl Streep, have them use that hyper-energetic heart to make some art. One of the great boons of living in an artistic mecca like South Florida is there are a ton of artists willing to pass on their knowledge to a younger generation. Here are some great local summer art programs that will keep your little ones off the iPad and elbow-deep into construction paper and paint.
1. Kids Turning Nature Into Art. For the past 14 years, Winsome Bolt has instructed kids aged 4 to 13 on how to make art using recycled everyday materials, and this summer is no different. Every Wednesday (except the Fourth of July) until August 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Winsome and her helpful assistants guide kids on how to make crafts. Their work will culminate with an art presentation at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden Thursday, August 9. During the first two weeks, they had this writer's 5-year-old make a leaning tower out of wine corks and popsicle sticks, and a castle out of cardboard and Dixie cups. The program is absolutely free, with the one caveat being that children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the class. 10 a.m. Wednesdays at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; eventbrite.com. Admission is free.
2. Bass Museum Summer Art Camp. Through August 17, South Beach's recently reopened Bass is hosting weekly art camps for school-aged children. Led by professional museum educators, teaching artists, and certified Miami-Dade County Public Schools art teachers, campers learn through fun, hands-on art activities in sculpture, painting, and design. Aftercare options are also available. 9 a.m. weekdays at the Bass, 2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; thebass.org. Admission is $200 for members and $250 for non-members.
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3. PAMM's Second Saturdays. Every second Saturday of the month, Pérez Art Museum Miami offers free admission to the public and usually has an art activity available for kids. The series' July 14 installment is no exception. Kids will create mini-installations inspired by artist Liliana Porter's El Hombre con el H
4. The Art Shack Summer Art Camp. The Art Shack in Doral offers a weekly half-day art camp or full-day music and art camp. Each week will offer completely new activities that kids ages 5 through 12 can jump into anytime throughout the summer. According to the Art Shack, organizers are open to "create and learn about different fun themes and are always ready to explore new materials. [The] camp is highly personalized, with a coordinator for every five campers." 9:30 a.m. weekdays at the Art Shack, 9831 NW 58th St., #145, Doral; theartshackmiami.com. Admission costs $155 per week for half-days and $264 per week for full days.
5. Beaux Arts Art Camp. The Lowe Art Museum on the University of Miami campus offers two-week art sessions for kids ages five to 12. According to Beaux Arts, campers "explore various art techniques such as drawing, painting, sculpture, paper mâché, and much more." 9 a.m. at Beaux Arts, 1301 Stanford Dr., Coral Gables; beauxartsmiami.org. Admission costs $450 per session.
6. Art in the Park at Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Arts instructor Marie lays out a blanket under a sea grape tree and provides materials to unleash your child's inner artiste at this outdoor class. Past activities have included making a tree collage out of a paper bag and plate, fashioning a vase from paper flowers, and constructing robots out of crafts. Best of all: Parents can get their yoga on while the kids burn some artistic energy. 10 a.m. at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach; eventbrite.com. Admission is free.