Living in a city that’s home to the MET, the Guggenheim and MoMA, there’s plenty to inspire your kiddo’s creativity. Even better, when he’s ready to create his own masterpiece, you don’t need an apartment stocked with art supplies. Drop-in art classes abound for little Picasso’s and Warhol’s of all ages. Read on to learn about NYC’s most inventive and imaginative classes where your kid can create something cool on the fly.
1. Help Get them Started at CMA
Children’s Museum of the Arts is not only a great place to bring your little ones to admire and learn about art, but it can also be a wonderful place for them to make their own. Get there before it opens to take their WEE drop-in classes taught by the Museum’s professional teaching artists. The class, recommended for kiddos under age 5, features a variety of workshops where your little artists can experiment with modeling dough, collage, and flubber, just to name a few. There’s a Music and Story Time to end the class, and if you still don’t want to head home, you can stay and explore the Museum. This is a great way to get your kiddos comfortable and excited about art. Maybe you will even see some of their work in the Museum one day!
When: Mon.-Fri., 10:45 am – 12 p.m. (no advanced sign-up required)
Cost: $25 per family (up to 5 people), $20 for CMA members
Where: Children’s Museum of the Arts
103 Charlton St.
2. Find Friday Night Fun at Brooklyn Art Hive
Brooklyn Art Hive, which opened last year, encourages your kiddos to approach art-making in a fun and playful way to help foster their confidence, creativity and imagination. They use natural materials and real tools (not the children’s versions) to make the experience an authentic one for your budding artist. While there’s a Friday morning music and art combination class available for drop-ins (for 18 months – 4 years), what we love about Brooklyn Art Hive is their Friday Late Nights. These are one-night only studio sessions designed for an older crowd (usually K-5th grade) where your kids can spend their night hanging out with friends, creating art, and even eating pizza. Each session focuses on a different theme – the next one is about Terrariums where kids can build a home for a miniature gnome, fairy, or anything else they might come up with. These classes are limited, so make sure to reserve ahead.
3. Experiment with New Materials at City Treehouse
More than just a fabulous indoor playspace, City Treehouse also offers awesome drop-in classes from time to time. Little artists of all ages can enjoy studio time to work on fun and easy projects on the second Saturday of every month. Each session begins with playing at the space’s popular water table, and then it’s time to go downstairs to work on a project that changes each month. Your little ones can mess around with a variety of different materials, such as paint, glitter, clay and recycled materials to help them become comfortable with making art.
When: Second Saturday of each month (unless noted on their Events Page)
Cost: Free with paid play visit area, check here for pricing
Where: 129A W. 20th St.
photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art
4. Work Among the Classics at the MET
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is famous throughout the world for their amazing art collection, and aren’t your kids lucky to grow up so close to it! It’s even luckier that they offer drop-in classes where you get to create your own art right next to the masterpieces during their Sunday Studios. You and your kiddos can try your hands at family-friendly activities led by an artist on Sunday afternoons in the museum galleries, with all the art supplies provided for you. Each session focuses on a different art form and exhibit (Collage and Remixing held in conjunction with their Cubism exhibit for example). They’ve even started giving family tours after the art class is finished if you’re looking for more inspiration.
When: First and third Sunday of each month (second and fifth Sunday in March), 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Cost: Free with museum admission, $25/adults, free for children under 12
Where: 1000 5th Ave.
Upper East Side
5. Create while Reflecting at the Noguchi Museum
The Noguchi Museum was designed by the artist to be a quiet, reflective place to admire and discover art. This is a perfect atmosphere for you and your kiddos to create as well. The Museum offers Family Programs on weekends in which museum educators guide you through the galleries and also through hands-on art experiences. Their Art for Tots program is for families with 2 to 4 year olds in which you can learn strategies to engage your little ones in museum visits as well as work on different types of projects such as clay sculptures and Painting in Japanese. The Art for Families, which is for 5 to 11 year olds, step it up a bit by engaging in conversations about the artwork in the galleries before creating free from clay or installation projects, depending on the day. They also offer select programs in Japanese! These programs fill up, so definitely call ahead and reserve a spot. There is also an Open Studio offered the first Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. that does not require a reservation.
photo: Barking Cat Studio
6. Art-Making for All Ages at Barking Cat Studio
Barking Cat Studio has drop-in classes for little artists ages 18 months and older. For the littler ones, there are toddler classes to begin exploring and pre-k afternoon sessions that encourage more independence and the use of new materials. For the older ones, Barking Cat offers after-school classes for 4 to 6 year olds where the projects vary from week to week with everything from painting to 3D sculpture building, and an art immersion class for 7 to 12 year olds who want to take it to the next step. The art outpost even hosts Craft-tastic Saturdays for ages 4 and up with different art projects to create each week, such as glass painting, Mardi Gras masks, and “Stained Glass” Flowers. Make sure to call ahead for availability as classes tend to book up.
7. Enjoy Art with a Side of Music at ArtsCetera
ArtsCetera understands that music can play an incredibly important role in the artistic process. That’s why they offer musical play in their art class, Alfie’s Art and Play, which is designed for little artists 20 months to 4 years old. Musical activities, books and movement will help your little one will feel inspired to create some amazing art. There are collaborative group projects to let your kiddos learn how to work with others, as well as “take home” solo projects, in each class. You can even get a CD if you want to continue this musical inspiration for art projects at home. You must schedule a drop-in at least one day in advance to ensure there’s enough space.
When: Wed., 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Where: 205 Columbia St.
photo: Abrakadoodle of Queens
8. Learn through Process at Abrakadoodle
Abrakadoodle works around the world to bring creativity to kiddos of all ages through art classes, school visits, camps and much more. There’s now one open in Queens that brings this opportunity to future artists 7 to 12 years old. This studio believes in “process art” and encourage as much exploration as possible. During this class, they experiment with different techniques and materials, like bamboo brushes and molding compounds, and explore a variety of art forms such as sculpture, mosaic and anime. They also learn about both classic and contemporary artists to help inspire their own work. One of the main focuses is building your kiddo’s confidence to help them become the artists that they are meant to be. Drop-ins are always welcome, so stop by whenever inspiration hits.
When: Tues., 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: 27-14 23rd Ave.
9. Create at Your Apartment
Can’t make it to any of these classes? No need to worry! The Brooklyn Children’s Museum offers Artworks @ Home, a step-by-step guide to doing crafts with your little one right in the comfort of your own apartment. They feature a craft, provide you with a list of necessary materials, and clearly write out the procedure so you and your little artists can create a masterpiece. They even provide links to literacy extensions if you want to add in some reading.
Where does your kid like to get creative?