Hand a kid a cardboard box and watch their imagination take over. Suddenly, this piece of trash becomes a race car, a rocket ship, a house for stuffed toys, or a turtle shell.
Fuel that creative fire beyond the box by taking them places that not only let kids be kids, but offer means for their imagination to grow. From museums to workshops to urban adventures, the city is ripe with exciting opportunities for little ones to explore.
1325 E. 22nd Ave., Denver
The philosophy behind Delanie Holton-Fessler’s art studio is to “build kind, creative, and capable kids through hands-on maker experiences.” Here, the young ones can take the reins of their own imaginations while being gently guided toward a project during a session.
Full-day classes happen when school is out, but there are also weekend sessions and an after-school makers club. All the supplies consist of basic art and craft tools including paint, scissors, glue, wood, natural objects like pinecones, pompoms, and so on. Let your kid stretch their creative brains while making a trash robot, wooden rolling toy, DIY board game, gnome home and more.
2121 Children’s Museum Dr., Denver
While it may be a given that a children’s museum caters to young minds, the Denver venue goes beyond the normal. Best for ages 2 to 12, the multi-room museum offers areas where kids can work on engineering skills, play with an array of bubbles, learn to cook in the Teaching Kitchen, pretend to be a vet, and so much more.
Imagination really takes off in the play kitchen and grocery store. Just don’t be surprised if you’re served a plate full of peaches and corn while watching them “cook” and “shop.” There’s also a whole art studio complete with a real car to paint, easels, stop motion animation, clay and a wall where kids and adults can draw with liquid chalk.
TAKE A STROLL
It’s amazing to see how kids’ brains work when they aren’t being structured to see or do a particular thing. The best part about this activity is you can do it anywhere and make the adventure as long or as short as needed.
Walk around your own neighborhood and talk about house and/or garden design and how they would do it differently. Wander to RiNo Art District and take in street art, discussing how it was painted and why. Watch the clouds and pick out shapes, creating a story about what’s going on in the sky. Take a hike and let your little ones create fairy houses out of sticks, pine needles and rocks.
With this creative exercise you can let the imagination unfurl naturally while you meander around or take ideas home and have the process continue on through writing, drawing, music or dance. After all, how would a unicorn cloud do ballet anyway?
For a kid who best imagines by using their bodies, there are independent classes and modern dance to help inspire. At Cleo Parker Robinson Dance kids 3 to 6 can take creative dance, as well as hip hop, ballet, African drumming and more. The company also showcases modern performances, perfect for inspiring kids’ own imaginations.
Leap Dance Studio also does a free-flowing movement course for ages 3 and 4. Or, help your kid tap into the circus side of creativity with an aerial dance class at Aerial Cirque Over Denver. Here classes are offered for kids from ages 3 to 17, and include silks, trapeze, sling, and hoop work. With these skills, they can take imagination to literal new heights, and spark ideas for their own performance at home.
1250 Bannock St., Denver
One of the beauties of abstract expressionism comes in how you look at it. Really, anything goes and talking to kids about what they see, how the colors make them feel, and what they like or don’t like about the painting can spark the imagination. Artist Clyfford Still proves great for this, and since the whole museum is dedicated to his work there’s plenty to mull over.
Kids and adults can also let the creative brain flow in the maker studio on the second floor. Here an array of beads, string, markers, paper, glue and more can be used by visitors to build whatever work of art their imaginations come up with. And yes, you can bring it home too.
2639 W. Bellview Ave., Ste. 160, Littleton
Build a superhero arm, sew a new best friend, or paint a masterpiece. At the Littleton studio anything is possible with a bit of imagination. And, if they need some ideas, the instructors are there to help kids work though projects and teach them how to use certain tools and techniques. The space also hosts art classes for grades 1st though 8th.
Many of these businesses are funded by voter approval of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District. Thank you for you continued support.