We love that there are so many options for enrichment outside of school for our kids. From music to art to robotics, Boston has it all. What we don’t love is how difficult it can be to choose from all those options. We definitely don’t relish the idea of blindly committing to several weeks of a class when we’re not even sure who the instructor is or what our kids will actually be doing in the class. Really, if you can sample ice cream before deciding on a flavor, shouldn’t you be able to try a class before you register? We think so, and luckily, so do the places on this list. Some are hosting open houses where you can check out programs and meet the instructors, while others offer a free trial class – try before you buy, so to speak.
All aboard the STEAM Train. Next stop: The intersection of Arts and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Summer is coming to an end, and your kids want to continue to do the amazing things they were introduced to in a STEM summer camp. They’re in luck, because the STEM/STEAM (the A adds Arts) offerings for kids in Boston extend into the school year. Check out these places offering unique classes that encourage them to use their creativity while learning STEM-related skills. (And take a look at some really cool places for STEM birthday parties, too.)
Whether you’re trying to expand your children’s cultural horizons, connect them to their roots, or just looking for something different, Boston is the place to be. We have language classes for multilingual kids, international playgroups, and world music classes. We also have classes for kids to learn dance traditions from distant lands. Boston kids can learn Flamenco, Bollywood, Irish Step Dance, Mexican Folk Dance – even the Lion Dance you see performed at the Lunar New Year celebration every year. I’ve rounded up dance classes from all over the world, from Armenia to West Africa, offered to children right here in the Boston area.
Does your child need a creative outlet? Right here in the city, we have a wide range of options for kids to learn and create art, whether it’s the kind you hang on the wall or the kind you wear. From traditional fine art classes at the MFA to woodworking at The Eliot School, there’s a class for every kid: Drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking, woodworking, knitting, sewing, glass fusing – even map art.
If you live in one of the towns west of Boston and you have a creative kid, you’re in luck. In Arlington, Belmont, Watertown, Newton and Concord, I’ve found a veritable cornucopia of art and craft making classes for kids. Environmental arts? Check. Cartooning? Check. Zentangle? (What's that?) Yep, that one too, along with clay work, animation, drawing, painting, glass fusion, and fashion illustration.
Great, the big kids are all set for the school year, but what are you going to do with the little ones? Feeling like you need a little structure in your days with your bundle of joy and energy, but school is a long way off? We’ve rounded up a few nice playgroups for tiny tots. Read on for groups ranging from casual drop-in to structured, multiple-week commitments that get you out of the house and making new friends.
When you're homeschooling and don't have a built-in school community, it's always nice to connect with other homeschooling (or unschooling) families. It’s also nice for your kids to have opportunities for exploration and enrichment beyond the regular curriculum. What’s even better is when organizations like the MFA, Mass Audubon, and The Eliot School offer those extracurricular activities where homeschooled kids can connect, at times that don’t revolve around a traditional bricks and mortar school schedule. Here are some excellent extracurricular classes and programs for homeschoolers in clay work, nature exploration, fine arts, woodworking, and even juggling.
If you’re willing to venture out just beyond city limits, you’ll find unique and wonderful art and craft making classes for your kids. Sure, the city of Boston has fine art classes at the MFA, glass crafts at the Diablo Glass School, and woodworking at The Eliot School. But Greater Boston (Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline) boasts its very own stitch lounge, a different (and wild!) museum art making experience, and studios where kids are encouraged to get messy.
We're glad you're here at Mommy Poppins Boston, your free online resource for everything for families and kids in the greater Boston area. We'd love to hear from you with any questions or suggestions! — Tara