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2017 Aug

Be Inspired

Kids are like sponges. They soak in whatever’s around them. One of my favorite memories is when my youngest son, Ross, and I visited a folk art exhibition in one of D.C.’s extraordinary museums. Ross ran from one exhibit to the next, delighting in the funky sculptures, silly wind vanes, and colorful paintings. Now that I think about it, folk art is characterized by its childlike simplicity, which may be why it resonated so much with Ross.

When was the last time you took your child to a museum? We are fortunate to have many inspiring sanctuaries of creativity and knowledge in Tidewater—and more in Richmond and D.C. Museums enable you to introduce your child to new ideas, perhaps planting seeds for a new hobby or a career path.

Another way that kids discover new interests and passions is through summer camps. Our cover story this month about Camp Fury focuses on local girls who are learning how to become firefighters, thanks to a few dedicated adults who make opportunities like this possible.

Recently I was listening to a program on NPR about a boy who has been going to space camp in Alabama every summer for years. He says camp is the best week of the year and looks forward to being one of the first humans to walk on Mars. The boy’s passion for astronomy all started with watching the stars one night at a friend’s house.

Extracurricular activities like dance and art classes also feed our children’s zest for knowledge and self-expression. Take time this month to seek out classes and workshops and performances that will take you and your child into unchartered territory. Visit a museum and look at art with your little one and talk about the colors, shapes, textures, and emotions of the paintings you see. Listen to a symphony, watch a play or a dance performance, paint a picture.

Sometimes life feels so repetitious, maybe even monotonous, but the arts remind us that life is beautiful. When we let go of our cares for a while and immerse ourselves in the beauty of art, we feel refreshed and have a renewed sense of appreciation for the world around us.

Escape with your family into the arts this fall, and explore the possibilities.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and co-publisher of Tidewater Family and Tidewater Women magazines. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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