Does the creative bug bite your little one one too many times that you fear for your furniture’s safety? Time to redirect those overly expressive hands to an art class where their imagination can run wild and free. In Southern California, your mini muralist is not a single palette short of options. Check our list below for classes where your artistic tots can experiment with all sorts media.

Pachis

Pachis Art Studio is not like other art classes in town. Winner of Red Tricycle’s 2013 Most Awesome Art Class, Pachis is founded on the belief that kids are born creative. Owner and founder Flores strives to provide a structured yet open environment where kids can feel confident in expressing themselves artistically. These “creativity spaces” help kids think outside the “art box,” encourages self-expression, builds self-esteem, and cultivates outstanding, creative individuals.

2820 Roosevelt Road, Suite 102
San Diego, Ca  92106
619 320-8057
Online: mypachis.com

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photo credit: Pachis via yelp.com

Art Innovators

To combat the staggering number of art programs being cut in schools across the country, Art Innovators offers technical drawing-based programs for artists of all ages to enjoy. Their Squiggles to Grins class (2-3 1/2 year olds) uses storytelling and songs to introduce concepts like lines and shapes while their Connect! program  (kindergarten aged and up) has kids creatively exploring their understanding of art in a clearer, more defined style. Art Innovators currently serves parts of Orange County and surrounding areas. Visit their website to find a local program.

Phone: 909-860-8062
Online: artinnovatorssocal.com

Mikhailik Architectural Studio

Kids can learn anything through anything in this digital age, and MASKA aims to fill the creative void through mixed media. Using unique methods like paper modeling, color theory and more, kids will develop skills in basic composition, visual grammar and more to understand the world around them. These classes are meant to be a long term commitment and the benefits will stay with your little thinker all throughout his or her life.

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Grand Central Art Center
Lower Level
125 N. Broadway
Santa Ana, Ca 92701
714-356-6899
Online: maska-oc.com/

Chuck Jones Center for Creativity

Founded by the same animator who brought all our classic cartoons to life (Bugs Bunny, How the Grinch Stole Christmas), the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity aims to re-invigorate your kid’s creative spirit. These programs aim to help develop abstract thinking, tolerance for complexity, confidence and much more in your little ones. Learn from their Resident Artists or drop in for a Saturday morning quick draw featuring Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and all their friends!

3321 Hyland Ave
Costa Mesa, Ca 92626
949-660-7791
Online: chuckjonescenter.org/

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photo credit: Gina L. via yelp.com

Art Soup

Imagine a craft-country club for kids complete with a VW Bug, glass and chalk walls, and a stocked self-serve craft bar. This dreamy space is a reality at Art Soup. For kids who love to get their glitter and paint on, you’ll want to run to these classes. Art Soup is able to keep costs down (and make a positive impact on the earth) by using 75% recycled materials. Art Soup has won the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award in 2011 for Best Art Class, and in 2012 and 2013 they took home the award for best Birthday Spot. Birthdays, events and classes? Yes, please.

191 N. El Camino Real
Suite 203
Encinitas, Ca 92024
760-230-2060
Online: artsoupsd.com

Spanish Village Art Center

Located in the heart of Balboa Park, Spanish Village Art Center is known for its diverse community of more than 250 artists from throughout the region. Little budding Picasos can submerge themselves in this inspirational atmosphere and learn tricks of the trade — from Chinese brush painting to pottery. Not to mention, this amazing center is beautiful with its quaint buildings, courtyards and flowering bougainvilleas. Just stopping by will make for a great day out.

1770 Village Place
San Diego, Ca 92101
619-233-9050
Online: spanishvillageart.com

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photo credit: wlculter via creativecommons flickr

Little Artists

With three locations throughout San Diego County, Little Artists aims to start kids on a creative path towards their artist potential. The studio builds basic skills in young ones by helping them recognize simple forms and shapes. Then they teach them how to recreate those shapes into an image. Kids begin with basic drawing and progress to painting (watercolor, acrylic and oil). Classes are broken down by age group (4-7 and 8+) and are offered on a month-to-month basis.

Claremont
4037 Governor Drive
San Diego, Ca 92122
858-268-2255

Poway
12222 Poway Road
Suite 18
Poway Ca, 92064
858-486-1555

La Mesa
8680 Navajo Road
Suite 103
San Diego, Ca 92119
619-462-1955

Online: mylittleartists.com

Timree

Let your little one’s creativity shine than through fun and interactive art classes at Timree. Located in Newport Beach, Timree offers all ages painting classes and parties so whole families can work together (there’s also after school classes for kids 6-12). The studio itself is sure to get creative juices flowing with its cutely decorated interior. Colorful chairs to paint-splattered tables — kids won’t be able to get enough fun at Timree.

365 N. Old Newport Blvd., Suite A
Newport Beach, Ca 92663
949-723-1300
Online: timree.com/

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photo credit: Timree G. via yelp.com

Art Start

Build skills, confidence and expand your kiddo’s imagination through Art Start. Little artists will take baby steps, from learning basic shapes to compiling shapes, towards making their first realistic masterpiece. They’ll learn to express themselves through a variety of media, from pencil to clay and gain a wide vocab in art lingo. There’s even seasonal camps for the full time art lovers. Art Start is located in various spots around the San Diego area, so be sure to check the website for location and course details.

Various locations in San Diego, Ca 92064
Online: zhibit.org/artstart/

Muddy’s Studio

For the kids that love to feel their art come to life in their hands, Muddy’s Studio is the perfect place get inspiration. The huge state of the art facility will wow and churn the pottery wheels in your kiddo’s brains to crank out clay masterpieces. They’ll be excited to create, fire and glaze models each week (Friday or Saturday). Get ready to make space for your new dining table centerpiece or office accessory.

2610 Halladay St.
Santa Ana, Ca 92707
714-641-4077
Online: muddysstudio.com/

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photo credit: Maciej Bliziński via creativecommons flickr

Young Audiences

Parents and kids get together at the Salvation Army Krock Center for some creative and educational art-periences that are completely free! Professional artists will teach hands-on activities and give exciting performances that’ll engage and enrich your kiddos’ cross cultural understanding. Each date is themed and set to inspire participants of all artsy ages. Check the website for specific details.

The Salvation Army Krock Center
Multi-purpose room
6845 University Ave
San Diego, Ca 92115
619-287-5762
Online: yasandiego.org/

Where do you channel your kiddo’s creative side?

— Leah Singer