As a parent, you want to encourage your children’s interests as much as possible. When your 3-year-old kicks a ball across the backyard, you consider signing him up for a preschool soccer team, and when your 9-year-old brings home an A in reading, you take her to the library to check out a stack of books.
To cultivate your kids’ budding passions, think outside of the box a bit and find alternatives or add-ons to typical activities. The following experiences can help your kids explore their interests even more:
For the bookworm, go beyond the books
If your daughter adores reading, take her to the local library or bookstore for book readings. She will enjoy hearing an adult other than you or her teacher reading a new-to-them story. And it’s fun to interact with the other kids and parents who attend. You also can offer your little bookworm plenty of reading material in other mediums, such as comic books and magazines. Another idea is to turn on the closed captioning option during your child’s favorite TV show and turn the volume off; this way she can read the dialogue instead of hear it.
For the movie fan, go to a play
Most kids have at least one favorite movie — and you have probably seen it about a thousand times. If your kids love going to the movies and acting out the various scenes at home, give them a new experience by taking them to see a live theater performance. Plays, musicals and local theater productions are perfect ways to expand your child’s horizons and show them another side of entertainment. A lot of cities have children’s theater companies, which are a terrific way to introduce kids to the live theater experience. If you live close to New York City or are planning a trip there soon, take your kids to a Broadway production.
For the artist, head to a museum
Museums and art exhibits are a great way to encourage artistic growth in young children. If your son is always doodling, drawing, painting and playing with clay, take him on a field trip to a local museum. While children’s museums often have hands-on learning opportunities, you can also take your kiddo to a “real” museum filled with classic pieces of artwork by the masters. Even young children can be taught to be quiet and respectful in an art museum, and some have galleries with art geared toward kids and teens.
For the sports fan, go to some games
Kids who shoot hoops all day in the driveway or swim countless laps in the backyard pool will love going to a basketball game or swim meet. You don’t have to spend big bucks to expose your kids to older athletes doing the sports they love. If you have a college in your hometown, take your kiddo to a few games. Or, see if the local YMCA is hosting a swim meet that is open to the public.