For kids, the act of creating art is not only fun (okay, and maybe a bit messy too), it’s also helping build a variety of skills like fine-motor, critical thinking and problem solving. With each splatter of paint and stroke of the crayon, kids are also mastering language development, self-expression and more. While that craft box at home is a great start, there are so many other ways you can expose your child to the arts in Tampa Bay, whether in person, at a museum or online.
Tampa Bay Art Museums
We are fortunate that our home of Tampa Bay has fully embraced the arts, giving us access to world-renowned museums where our kids can learn and explore in-person and virtually.
The Dali in St. Pete | thedali.org
The Dali offers several youth programs, including camps. You can take part in DillyDally with Dali virtually on Feb. 4, 11 and 18 from 5 -5:30 pm. Designed for kids ages 6-11, the program will lead your child through a craft inspired by the museum.
The visiting exhibit Van Gogh Alive! is another must-see. It’s a fully immersive experience where you can step inside the masterpieces created by Van Gogh through high-definition projections on floor to ceiling screens. You will need to book your ticket and timed reservation online in advance. Tickets for kids 6-12 are $10 (5 and younger are free) and adults are $25. You’ll also want to download the Dali app before you go to learn more about the artist and exhibit. Van Gogh Alive! is on display through April 11, 2021.
Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete | mfastpete.org
If you’re not quite ready to venture out, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete has a really cool virtual program for kids in kindergarten through sixth grade called Art Break. Kids are guided through a craft inspired by the exhibits at the museum. Some offerings you can view right now are Shadow Puppets, Flower Still Life and Tissue Paper Flowers. The MFA will also be offering camps, so stay tuned for our Summer Camp Guide next month!
The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St Pete | jamesmuseum.org
Check out the events calendar at The James Museum for things to do for families each month. This month, kids 4-17 can participate in Open Studio on Feb. 20 from 11 am to 2 p.m. Capacity is limited to eight people at a time. Once inside, kids can create, draw, paint, print and sculpt their very own masterpieces. Open Studio is included with admission. The museum also offers camps and virtual programming, including Mini Maker Space with pre-recorded art classes like Paper Sculptures and Shaving Cream Art Prints.
Tampa Museum of Art | tampamuseum.org
The Tampa Museum of Art is currently offering in-person and virtual programs for kids. The popular Art Spot event is now virtual, with a new video released the first Saturday of each month. You can even access past episodes if you can’t wait for Feb. 6 at 9 a.m. when this month’s video is released. You and the kids will be led through a craft using materials you can find in the house, and you’ll learn a bit about the art at the museum too.
There’s also an in-person event for kids hosted outdoors on Tuesdays from 1 -2 p.m. It’s hosted at different parks in the community. This month’s classes are at Rivercrest Park in Seminole Heights. This is best for kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade and can also be attended virtually.
Gasparilla Festival of the Arts is going virtual this year and plans to offer children’s activities. It’ll be held March 6 and 7. gasparillaarts.com
EPCOT International Festival of the Arts: A short drive from Tampa Bay, EPCOT’s 5th annual Festival of the Arts is one of the first in-person art festivals to be held since the pandemic began. Disney’s strict safety protocols allow families to experience more than 100 artists and 15 food studios with culinary masterpieces created by Disney chefs. It runs now through Feb. 22, 2021.
Some of our favorite artsy family activities at EPCOT’s Festival of the Arts:
- Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt: Pick up the scavenger hunt card at one of the gift shops or kiosks for $7.99 and search each pavilion for Figment in masterpieces like the Mona Lisa. Also be on the lookout for hidden chalk art murals tucked into the World Showcase. See how many you can find.
- Animation Academy: Head over to the American Gardens Theater for an outdoor art class led by a Disney artist. During the session, the artist will walk you through the steps to sketch a Disney character like Minnie Mouse. Seating is socially distanced, so you’ll want to arrive early. Sessions are at 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.
- Artful Photos: Keep your eyes open for photo spots along the barrier walls that artfully hide where part of the EPCOT transformation is happening! You can snap photos in front of butterfly wings and even contribute your own brush strokes at the Paint-by-Number Mural.
- Artful Dishes: The 15 food studios offer a wide variety of creative food plates and drinks to try including a very pretty vanilla, rose water and pistachio panna cotta.
*Disney is offering a deal for Florida residents right now. You can pick up a 4-day Discover Disney ticket for $50 per day + tax.
In our large and diverse area, there is likely an art studio near you where your children can take classes and create their own masterpieces. Some options are: Carrollwood Cultural Center, Yellow Bird Studio in South Tampa, Tribe-Seminole Heights and the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County’s Family Resource Centers, which also offer arts and crafts for kids. (FamilySupportHC.org)
Crafty Influencer: Karimah Henry of CraftingaFunLife.com. Henry is always sharing fun and creative ways to create with the kids on her website and Instagram. Give her a follow @craftingafunlife for inspiring ideas!