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Ask A South Florida Expert: After-School Activity Ideas

Kylee Crook is the Director of Education of the Bass Museum of Art. She is involved with various arts and learning initiatives for children, part of the IDEA@thebass programs (Identify, Discuss, Envision and Assess) which seek to foster family engagement and promote literacy through art and design. Crook explains that it has been shown that the use of art in early childhood promotes socio-emotional development, cognitive development and motor development among others. As children become familiar with the art medium, they begin to think about what they want to draw and begin drawing representations of their daily lives, feelings or thoughts. This early use of symbols in artwork is very important because it provides a foundation for children's later use of words to symbolize objects and actions in formal writing. Along with this information, parents learn the importance of speaking constantly to their children (reference), pointing out colors, shapes, words, talking about plans for the day – everything that the parent is observing should be said out loud so that the child can start forming their vocabulary bank.
Kylee Crook
Bass Museum of Art
2100 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 673-7530

According to Kylee Crook, the Bass Museum education department is focusing its efforts on outreach programs in Miami's underserved communities. Its mission is to engage the families of children from two to eight years of age via a literacy and arts program with the intention of nurturing brain development in early childhood by passing the knowledge of how to do so to their families. Art becomes more approachable and accessible as introduced via books and literacy with programs around Miami including a successful program at Little Havana's Centro Mater (for children two to four years of age). The programs involve both children and parents to create together in addition to parents-only workshops on incorporating art and literacy into their daily lives, creating family traditions, history and culture and becoming more active participants in their communities.

Begin A Discussion About Neighborhoods

Use the following questions to begin a discussion with your child. What is a neighborhood? What does yours look like? How is it different from other neighborhoods? Does it have houses or apartments? Is there a park or a school or a library? What does "neighborhood" mean to you? Parents, do you live now where you grew up? If not, explain what your former neighborhood looked like.

Read A Book About Neighborhoods Together

Families can check out the book, "Welcome to My Neighborhood Barrio ABC" by Quiara Algeria Hudes, from a local public library or any other children's books that focus on neighborhoods.

Research Different Types Of Neighborhoods Outside Of Your Own

If you have other related books, pictures of neighborhoods or access to the internet on a tablet or computer, you can look up other neighborhoods to show your family the variety of neighborhoods that exist in the state, in the country and even around the world.

Related: Ask A South Florida Expert: Easy Crafts To Do With Your Kids

Construct An Art Project

Gather supplies to create a collage: old magazine paper to glue images on, glue, scissors, pencils/markers/colored pencils and paint (optional). Explain to your children what a collage is and demonstrate how you look for images that might represent your neighborhood. Cut them out and glue the pieces to the paper. If you have access to paint, the collage may be painted after everything is glued on as well.

Engage In Show And Tell

Each family member now gets a chance to show and explain their collage.

Related: Top Parent Gathering Spots In South Florida

Chanoa Chen is a Fashion Merchandiser, Freelance Writer and Blogger. Chanoa has contributed stories to top firms including QVC Insider Germany and regularly contributes to CBS Local Miami and She may be reached via:


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