Parents in Action: Performing arts summer camps

Is your child doodling on every piece of paper they can get their hands on? Do they dance uncontrollably when their favorite song comes on? Are they saying lines along with their favorite movie? Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may have an underlying talent in the arts that is waiting to be brought to light. And as summer approaches it’s a perfect time to nurture those talents at performing arts summer programs and camps.

If you and your child decide that a performing arts summer camp is right for them, they’ll not only spend their vacation learning about something they love, they’ll also gain numerous benefits from the programs that will go well beyond summer break.

Academic Benefits
There are countless benefits to arts education and exposure but one of the largest is academic benefits. A 2006 study commissioned by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies found that the reading of dramatic plays helps children comprehend and improves reading skills among all age groups but especially for first graders who are reading below their grade level. Similarly, students who are exposed and participate in arts programming show greater proficiency in language and math, achieving overall higher scores on the verbal and math portions of the S.A.T.

The reason for these increases is that certain forms of arts instruction enhance basic reading skills, language development and writing skills. For example, numerous data shows “the use of dramatic enactment can make a measurable difference in helping student” achieve goals such as story understanding, reading comprehension and writing skills. This study conducted by tracks the numerous results of arts education and the benefits they have on children and teens.

Community and Civic Engagement
The advantages, although great in the academic spectrum, go far beyond school and academic achievement. In a study conducted at the University of California Los Angeles, young adults who had experienced intensive arts in high school were found to have more civic engagement through community volunteering, voting and involvement in school and local politics. Additionally, these increases were seen across all levels of socioeconomic homes, high and low. Some research also shows that arts can have an impact on how tweens and teen communicate with their parents and other adults.  And at its core, communication and civic engagement will better help prepare kids for college, the work force and the future. The full data on the coorilation between community and civic engagement and arts training can be found on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Mental and Physical Impact
Kids who participate in the arts for an extended period of time will also experience a number of mental health and physical benefits. With 18 percent of adolescents being obese, according to the CDC, performing arts activities like dance are a fantastic way for them to experience continuous physical exercise. Doing heavy physical activity, like dance, will not only increase the amount of time your kids are exercising but will also help to decrease levels any depression and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.  

Additionally, doing physical activity, like performing arts training in dance, music or acting is a great confidence booster for your kids. They’ll learn about communicating in public, working with new friends and expressing their emotions openly through dialogue, which will inevitably help them communicate better at home.

When sending your kids to a performing arts camp keep in mind that just because your child is interested in dancing doesn’t mean that they’ll grow up to become a famous choreographer. But nurturing those talents will certainly help them no matter what; in school, in life and in health. Take the first step when you see your child’s talents show through, your kids will thank you later on.


American Stage
163 Third St. N., St. Petersburg
727-823-1600, Ext. 201 -
June 9 – August 8
Discover the difference that theater can make in your child’s life! The camp provides enriching experiences in a positive and inspiring environment that enhance a child’s communication skills, confidence and creative expression. The staff is comprised of working theater professionals and all experience levels are welcome.

Carrollwood Cultural Center’s The Arts Gone Wild
4537 Lowell Road, Tampa
813-269-1310 -
June 9 – August 15
Experience a summer full of beautiful artwork, music, dancing and voices joined together in perfect harmony. Campers will get a chance to discover their inner artist and performer.

Color Me Mine
1609 W. Snow Circle, Tampa
813-258-8368 -
Everyone’s favorite pottery studio is now offering summer day camps for ages 5-12. Kids will explore pottery, painting,

glazing and more.

Dunedin Fine Art Center
1143 Michigan Blvd.
727-298-3322 -
June 9 – August 15
These art camps offer fun, creative, cognitive experiences for ages 4½ to 14. Activities include drawing, painting, drama and dance. Camp themes include Groovy Graffiti, Rockin’ Reptiles and Water World.

Mary Jo’s Sizzlin’ Summer Camps
15906 Mapledale Blvd., Tampa
813-969-0240 -
Experience a summer of dance (ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, acrobatics), acting, musical theater, voice and music for ages 3 and older. The weekly themes include Princess and Pirates, Beach Bash, Dancing Divas & Dudes, Tampa’s Got Talent, Movie Moves and In the Jungle! Register online.

Morean Arts Center
719 Central Ave., St. Pete
727-822-7872 -
June 9 - August 15
Campers will explore a variety of art concentrations like clay and glass under the guidance of the most talented artists and staff. Camp is open to kids age 5-15.
Additional options available for teen campers.

Music Showcase and The Florida Academy of
Performing Arts
402 Oakfield Drive, Brandon
813-490-2787 -
Ages 5 and older can learn to sing, act or play an instrument! Camps include Musical Theater, where students sing and act on stage, make costumes and sets and perform before a live audience. Also join the GLEE show choir, acting classes, commercial, TV, film, group guitar, group violin, toddler and voice over classes as well as Rock Band. Half- and full-day camps available.

Painting with a Twist
Various locations
813-839-2409 -
June 24 - August 8
Participants ages 7-14 will learn about various visual artists and cultures and paint their own daily masterpiece inspired by the artist/culture of the day. Program developed by certified elementary art instructor. Paint, brushes, canvas and lunch provided. Local artist will give step-by-step instruction. Cost is $40 per day per child or $175 per week per child.

Patel Conservatory
1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa
813-222-1002 -
Offering more than 70 camps and classes in all areas of dance, theater and music for all ages and experience levels, weekly classes for ages 3 through college.

Summer Arts 2014 at Hoffman Institute
111 McMullen Booth Road, Clearwater
727-712-2706 -
Give your child a summer in the spotlight. Performing arts classes and camps are available for ages 3-18. Save money with special discounts. Save time with the convenient lunch program. Save stress and relax knowing that your child is in a safe, cool and creative environment. Tuition assistance is available.

Tampa Theatre
711 N. Franklin St., Tampa
813-274-8286 -
The Tampa Theatre Film Camp is collaboration with the Florida Center for Instructional Technology at the USF College of Education, with assistance from Learning Gate Community School. During the one-week camp, young filmmakers from third to 12th grade actively participate in the creative process of filmmaking from idea generation and storyboarding to scriptwriting, filming, lighting, sound and editing, using all digital technologies.

Vosler Young Artists’ Studio Teen Drawing
1906 N. Armenia, Suite 207, Tampa
813-417-5867 -
June 9 - 17
Introduction to a classical atelier program of instruction for young artists ages 13 - 18.  Drawing lessons include:  classical drawing technique, Charles Barque program, emphasis on the classic order of light, concentration on anatomy & the head, plus drawing from live models to practice learned techniques.  Kerry Vosler, master instructor, gives demonstrations and instruction at the artist’s easel.   No prior experience necessary. Workshop includes supplies and models.

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