Set a Date to Create
By Daniella DiRienzo
The need for children to be able to express themselves freely is nearly as prevalent as the need for physical nourishment. Though this fact may be obvious to parents and caregivers, it can sometimes be hard to find outlets that encourage self expression from youngsters. A great option, however, is creative activities. According to PBS, creativity is the “freest form of self-expression” and can “nurture children’s emotional health.” Luckily, there are a ton of great places in DeSoto County where kids can let their creative juices flow.
1. Pottery Haven
If you’re looking for a creative activity that you and your child can enjoy together, Pottery Haven won’t disappoint. The paint-your-own-pottery-studio allows visitors to release their inner artist by putting their own special touch on a piece of pottery. In addition to art supplies, the studio provides creative techniques for every skill level, making pottery painting fun and easy for everyone – and we do mean everyone. Becca Ashworth, a recent visitor stated, “They are so patient with the children and are very helpful.” Pottery Haven is located at 5847 Getwell Rd. in Southaven. For more information, call 662-536-6272.
2. Let’s Paint
Located in Southaven, Let’s Paint offers art classes for children ages 3 – 15. The classes meet once a week for 1-hour sessions. The time and day of the class depends on the artist’s age. Private lessons are also available. All artists – whether enrolled in group or private lessons – get to showcase their work in an end-of-the-semester art show. Let’s Paint is located at 3332 Goodman Rd. E in Southaven. For more information, call 662-536-3966.
3. Cooking Up Fun!
Through classes and camps, Cooking Up Fun! offers exciting, hands-on opportunities for kids to learn the valuable skill of cooking. Not only will children learn new culinary skills, but their self-confidence will boil over as they accomplish the planning and cooking of a meal, snack, or dessert. Cooking classes and events are held throughout the year. You can also book private cooking parties through Cooking Up Fun! The all-inclusive party packages bring the fun right to your own kitchen. (And the best part is, they clean up the mess!) For more information, call 901- 488-6521 or visit the Cooking Up Fun! Facebook page.
Most parents don’t have time to chauffer kids to yet another activity – and thanks to JAM, you don’t have to! An incredible online resource, the website features a huge library filled with videos and projects that teach a variety of creative skills. Covering topics, such as art, innovation, and science, the site is a great way to foster existing interests or create new ones. It’s also a great way to get kids to use their online time in a productive manner. Sara, mother of a JAM user, raved about the site’s benefits, stating, “My daughter loves the content, interaction, and feedback. It keeps her off games and mindless activities.” Check out the course offering at jam.com.
5. Bricks 4 Kidz
You’ll have to travel across the state line into Tennessee to visit Bricks 4 Kidz, but the trek is worth it. In addition to summer camps, field trips, and birthday parties, the company hosts a variety of after-school programs. The 1-hour classes explore topics like architecture and technology – using LEGO bricks! And thanks to specially designed project kits, kids get to see their creations come to life. For more information, call 901-550-4331.
6. Pleasant Hill Art Center
Perfect for young artists of all skill levels and mediums, Pleasant Hill offers classes for children in 1st – 5th grades. The classes are held over a 10-week semester, during which time, kids will study various artists and experiment with different types of mediums. Most parents echo the sentiment of Melissa Tuffield, who remarked: “My kids really love the 10-week art program. They come home so happy and proud of their creations.” Pleasant Hill Art Center is located at 3601 Bridgeforth Rd. in Olive Branch. For more information, call 901-483-0358.
7. DeSoto Grace Education and Activities Program
In terms of affordability, the DeSoto Grace Education and Activities Program can’t be beat – and that’s because it’s free! That’s right; the incredible program provides free tutoring as well as a variety of activities. And since DeSoto Grace partners with local organizations, it’s able to offer an assortment of activities, including crafts and music. The program is open to qualifying 3rd and 4th grade students attending DeSoto County Schools. For more information, call 662-510-2036.
Daniella DiRienzo is a self-proclaimed southerner who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011 and has been working as a freelance writer ever since.