Between math class and spelling tests, it can be hard for kids to find creative outlets during the school day. An hour in an art room or drama class is hardly enough to satisfy young minds, but luckily New Orleans offers plenty of after-school activities for burgeoning actors, dancers and artists.
The New Orleans Museum of Art (1 Collins C. Diboll Circle, 504-658-4100; www.noma.org) offers artists ages 5 to 10 the chance to explore the museum and meet different artists along the way through its weekend Studio KIDS! classes. Students use the museum's diverse collection of artwork to inspire their own two- and three-dimensional creations. Classes are held on Saturdays from Aug. 23 to Sept. 20, and students can register for as many as they want. Classes are $30 each ($25 for museum members).
StoryQuest at the New Orleans Museum of Art is a program in which professional artists, actors and writers act out stories that inspire children ages 2 to 8 to explore the museum. StoryQuest is scheduled on Saturdays throughout the fall, with the last one Sept. 20. Each Saturday has a different theme, so check the website for more information. The class is included in the cost of museum admission.
Dancing Grounds (3705 St. Claude Ave., 504-535-5791; www.dancinggrounds.org) offers a variety of youth workshops in hip-hop, creative movement and other forms of dance. The community dance studio also partners with a handful of charter and public schools to offer after-school youth programs to young dancers. Contact the studio for more information.
In its after-school and weekend classes, Crescent City Lights Youth Theater (305 Baronne St., 504-598-3800; www.crescentcitylights.org) uses exercises and games to teach first- through sixth-graders the basics of theater and performance. The classes, which last about a month, conclude with an open class for friends and family. The theater invites young people to audition for shows throughout the year.
Kindermusik at the Thibodeaux School of Music (2436 Valence St., 504-717-1076; www.thibodeauxschoolofmusic.com) introduces children up to 7 years old to music and movement. Kids and babies play, sing and dance in activities designed to develop cognitive, emotional, social, physical and musical skills. The Uptown school also offers private lessons in piano, voice, violin, cello, bass and a dozen other instruments.
New Orleans Dance Academy, Inc. (5956 Magazine St., 504-899-3780; www.neworleansdancelessons.com) has classes and workshops for kids as young as 3 years old. The academy offers a variety of dance styles, including ballet, flamenco, jazz, tap and hip-hop. Tiny Steps, a class for children 18 months to 4 years old, offers parents and caretakers the opportunity to dance alongside their little ones. The academy hosts performances throughout the year.
The Alliance Francaise of New Orleans (1519 Jackson Ave., 504-568-0770; www.af-neworleans.org), the French cultural center and language school, holds a cine club for junior movie-watchers once a month. Throughout the year, the Alliance hosts French-themed social mixers for kids and young adults and cooking classes that celebrate French cuisine. Private French lessons for kids and groups of kids also can be arranged.
Throughout the year, the New Orleans Public Library (citywide, 504-596-2570; www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org) offers creative activities for young kids and teenagers, from jewelry-making at its Central City branch to silk-screening T-shirts at the Norman Mayer Library. The public library's events are great for drop-ins and don't require reservations. Events take place almost every day of the week and a full calendar is available online.