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These resources provide information on how parents can play a role in the effort to increase access to arts experiences for children in the state of Utah. This information lists community resources as well as ideas for increasing arts opportunities in schools. Utah is home to many quality arts organizations that enrich our lives by providing experiences that refine our sensitivities, inform our cultural literacy, and define who we are as a community. It is important to join together to increase access to these great resources for all children. 


"Art is my very, very, very, very favorite sport." 

- 4th Grader, Daggett School District

Arts at Home

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"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain

an artist once we grow up." - Pablo Picasso





  • Crayons, markers, colored pencils
  • Water with food coloring for watercolors
  • Scrap paper
  • Old clothes and hats for playmaking
  • Old magazines for making collages
  • Cardboard from cereal boxes and paper towel rolls for sculpture
  • Musical instruments or household objects to be used as instruments
  • Open space for dancing
  • An "art area" where messes are OK
  • A stage area created by hanging old sheets



  • Make up stories together while you are in the car
  • Drum out musical rhythms or clap syllables of names or words
  • Tell round-robin stories - each person makes up part of the story by building on what the last person said
  • Make up characters and stories to go with them
  • Write plays and perform them
  • Pretend to be characters while doing chores





    • Create homemade valentines, Christmas cards, etc
    • Use a smartphone to make a short video
    • Create a theater piece from a storybook
    • Build a puppet theater out of a box
    • Make puppets out of materials around the house: sticks, pinecones, old socks, lunch sacks, etc
    • Organize a dance performance
    • Make funny faces or sculptures out of food
    • Set up play dates to do arts activities
    • Organize a dance performance
    • Organize a children's group to meet weekly at different homes for arts activities
    • Take children to museums, concerts, plays, art shows
    • Organize neighborhood field trips


    • Go to a live arts performance
    • Use a hand-held video camera and make a 5-min film
    • Gather art supplies and make a mural
    • Make & decorate cookies or cupcakes
    • Have the children create and perform a play
    • Play drama games as party games




    Ideas for home-based arts instruction provided by Elementary Arts Educators in Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts. 


    Remember how fun pre-school was? Singing, drawing, dancing, playing pretend, and reading aloud? High-level learning happens during those hours of play, and these activities continue to be beneficial for people of all ages. Arts activities relax the body, refresh the mind, and help us connect to others. Arts activities are multi-sensory, minds-on, hands-on experiences that invite conversations and build relationships. Parents can invite their children to make art with them in a playful way and optimize the experience by breathing deeply, relaxing, and being fully present as their children engage. 

    When playing with children, listen to the children's ideas, then reward their efforts with smiles and kindness. Working along-side them encourages their focus and concentration. Inspire them to improve their ability by enjoying quality works of art together. Listen to music, sing, talk about works of art, discuss movies, and books. Most of all, have fun and celebrate successes. Set the stage, turn up the music and dance! Here are some ideas for home-based arts instruction to get you started.


    Use the icon below to download a PDF of the following arts activities to try at home!

    Arts Ideas for Home Instruction


    Draw something from the 100 Sketchbook Prompts or 100 Silly Drawing Prompts every day. Add details such as texture, value/shading, and color.  Feel free to use the back of your classwork to draw on, if you do not have other paper available.  


    Take inspiration from Land Artists such as Andy Goldworthy, Robert Smithson, and Richard Long.  Have your child look at images from these artists as inspiration for their own Land Art sculpture.  If you do not have access to outdoor space such as a yard or wilderness area, you can have students use Legos, toys from their playroom, cardboard, or other materials to assemble their sculpture.  Even food and veggies on their lunch plate!


    What country or part of the world does your family come from?  Find it on a map or globe. Have a family member sing a song they know from that country or region, or find a folk song from that country or region. What is the history of the song?  Why did people sing the song? If there is more than one song, which is your favorite?  Why? Create actions or movements to go along with the song and perform them as you sing.



    Make a chin puppet! Sure, have some giggles making funny faces or lip-syncing to a song, then go beyond. Create a character: give your chin puppet a name, a unique voice, a personality with likes and dislikes.  Hold a conversation.  Tell a story.  Keep your chin up!


    Make a list of events (or draw scenes) from a favorite story.  The story could be the plot from a book, movie or event.  Now. . . act it out:  backwards!  It's harder than it sounds – and is a fun challenge.  Good luck!


    Create a zoo of your own with stuffed animals, lego animals, toy animals or YOU as an animal! Make sure you give your critters a healthy habitat with plenty to do. What is your favorite exhibit?  What might the animals be thinking when you look at them?  What kinds of adventures might happen in a zoo?  Make your own zoo today, do!



    Listen to different genres of music and think about what movements they inspire.  Have fun dancing free style to any selection.  Allow each child to choose their favorite and explain why. Try learning some of the movement of each family member.  You could choose one movement from each family member and create a family dance. Begin and end with a family connecting shape using levels and all kinds of line and design to make your shapes interesting.  See what creative things you can come up with and enjoy the experience of dancing together.


    Watch "Happy Dance" on YouTube. Follow the dance moves in the video and make up moves of your own.  Talk about what makes you happy, and reasons why you are happy right now. Read Do Your Happy Dance! Celebrate Wonderful You and have a discussion.  Some points of discussion could be:  The Peanuts characters persisting at school, in sports or other extracurricular activities, or at any life experience.  Make connections to your own unique experiences and find reasons to celebrate and do a "Happy Dance!"  Turn the music video back on and have a dance of celebrating wonderful YOU! 

    Other Resources for the Happy Dance



    Body percussion is making percussive musical sounds using only your body -- such as clapping your hands, patting your lap, or stamping your feet. Try this body percussion game song.  It is first sung as an echo song, so you may want to watch and listen as each phrase is sung, then try the body percussion on the echo. The song might be easy to sing, but the body percussion gets tricky!  Clap your hands on the word bim, snap your fingers on the word bum, and pat your lap on biddy.  

    Once you have mastered the body percussion, find household objects that will make three distinct sounds. Decide which "instrument" or object you want to play, then choose the one word on which you will play your instrument each time it is sung: bim, bum, or biddy.  Have two other friends or family members play the other two instruments on the other words.

    Challenge: Can you sing the entire song but play your instrument only on the specific word?  This might take some practice!


    Look around your house and find the following sounds. An object you find may fit more than one of the items below. For example, a metal pot lid tapped with a wooden spoon is something you tap, it is metal, it can be loud, and it may be quiet.

    • Something you rattle or shake
    • Something you tap
    • Something you scrape
    • Something you blow in or across
    • Something metal
    • Something plastic
    • Something wood
    • Something that can make a loud sound
    • Something that can make a quiet sound
    • Something that makes a low sound
    • Something that makes a high sound
    • Something that makes a short sound
    • Something that makes a long sound

    Arrange the items into three categories: metal, plastic, wood. Start over and arrange the items into four categories based on how you make each sound: shake, tap, scrape, blow. Can you change the sound of the object? Can you make it louder, quieter, higher, or lower? Arrange from low sounds to high sounds.



    Read the book Giraffes Can't Dance by Giles Andreae (or watch the animated video of the Giraffes Can't Dance (Silly Song). Have a discussion about feelings/emotions that Gerald and the other animals might be having.  You can talk about how we feel when we fall and make mistakes, and how it feels when others make fun of us at those times.  This can lead to a conversation about a growth mindset: a belief that our most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. 

    Create a dance together! Using the action words in the story provides an opportunity for your children to try leaping, prancing, skipping, swaying, swishing and twirling. Give them time to make their own dance. Sit together in a circle and have a "Jungle Dance" giving any who would wish to share the dance they created. After this you can take turns learning each other’s dances. (Jungle Dance Music)


    2 Cups all purpose Flour
    1 Cup Salt
    1 Cup cold Water

    Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Slowly mix water, a few tablespoons at a time, into flour mixture until dough is smooth and easy to handle. Knead dough for 10 minutes and let rest for 20 minutes.  Help your student do the measuring and mixing/kneading, talking about the texture and how it feels before and after adding the water.  

    After the ten minutes of kneading you can divide up the mixture into three portions and add a few drops of food coloring to be mixed into the clay.  The primary colors of red, yellow, and blue are recommended.  

    Let it rest for 20 minutes.  When the clay is ready, have children sculpt a creature or character from a story they are currently reading.  Talk about the shapes that make up that creature, and the different parts/details.  If you added color, they can mix parts of the clay together to create secondary colors.  

    After they are done the clay can be put into an airtight container for several days then disposed of. You can also leave the sculptures out to dry in the air or bake them in a 250 degree oven for about two hours (until hard and dry).


    Arts in the Classroom

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    Be sensitive that the teacher is working towards required educational goals. Allow the teacher to see you as a valuable educational resource.


    • Be a room parent
    • Include arts activities at classroom parties
    • Provide musical accompaniment for programs and activities
    • Build and/or paint sets for performances
    • Create costumes
    • Record class productions
    • Gather art supplies
    • Create displays of student artwork
    • Assist with an arts project, play, dance, etc.
    • Chaperone trips to arts exhibits or performances
    • Organize a school arts team of teachers and parents to plan events and connect curriculum
    • Join your PTA/PTO and serve on the school community council to give voice to the arts


    • Survey other parents for talents they are willing to share and keep your teacher informed about arts events in the community.
    • Get involved with the following programs:
      • PTA
      • Band
      • Orchestra
      • Dance
      • Visual Arts
      • Theatre
      • Choir
      • Arts Clubs


    • Participate in Utah PTA Reflections
    • Host an arts night, Christmas concert, musical play or program, Shakespeare festival, or after school program
    • Become involved in the arts programs currently in place at your school. Be a booster parent for the choir, band, drama club, etc.
    • Join your local PTA/PTO or serve on the school community council
    • Be informed when Professional Outreach Program to Schools (POPS) groups will be coming to your district and help facilitate school participation in performances, lectures, demonstrations, and professional development.
    • Let your school and principal know about professional development opportunities and arts opportunities in your community
    • Stay up to date with school board meeting agendas and attend school board meetings when possible
    • Become a candidate for your local school board or support a candidate in favor of arts inclusion in schools
    • Write a grant for an artist-in-residence or arts education project in your school
    • If your school district has an arts committee, identify someone from the school to consistently attend district committee meetings
    • Form an arts team of parents, teachers, and administrators to coordinate school arts activities and events


    "I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few."

    - William Morris

    Arts in Schools

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    "The arts provide a more comprehensive and insightful education because they invite students to explore the emotional, intuitive, and irrational aspects of life that science is hard pressed to explain."

    - Charles Fowler





    The most important thing you can do is build a positive relationship with the principal and understand the current vision. Show the principal you are interested in the overall balanced education of the students by volunteering for and showing interest in areas in addition to the arts. Assure the principal that the goal of arts education is not to make every child a concert violinist, but to offer every child opportunities to explore the arts.


    The arts are designated as an academic core curriculum by the Utah State Board of Education and by the US Department of Education via the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

    The New Utah Core Standards are amenable to arts integration. The Utah State Board of Education supports the Utah Core Curriculum in dance, music, drama, and visual arts for grades K-6.

    Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication all identified as essential 21st Century workforce skills-are strengthened through arts education. For additional information visit

    Title I funds designated for low income schools may be used for arts education programs and activities that support the school's primary objectives and goals.





    Be an Arts Advocate

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    "An elementary school that treats the arts as the province of a few gifted children, or views them only as recreation and entertainment, is a school that needs an infusion of soul. That arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic." 

    - William Bennett, Former U.S. Secretary of Education



    The best way to be an arts advocate in your child's school is to visibly support your child's teacher in both arts activities and other areas.


    1. Why are the arts important to me?
    2. When did the arts impact my life or the life of someone I care about?
    3. With whom can I share my story?
    4. What would I like to see happen in the arts this year in my family, school, or community?
    5. What would I like to see happen in five years?
    6. What can I do to make my goals happen?


    Parents who are arts advocates can work effectively with the school community council.

    • Understand the district and school parameters for the school's improvement plan.
    • Identify the curricular areas designated by the district and school for improvement.
    • Find out what the school community council has designated as the greatest need for your school.
    • Identify ways the arts might contribute to accomplishing your school's designated goals.
    • Include arts education where possible in your school.
    • Select an arts representative to serve on the school community council.
    • Use trust lands funding to support arts programs that are tied to district and school goals and guidelines.
    • Build partnerships with local businesses to provide additional arts funding for your school.




    Professional Development

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    Professional development opportunities are available for administrators, teachers, and parents.


    • Arts Express Summer Conference for Elementary Educators, Brigham Young University
    • ArtsFusion for Elementary Educators, Southern Utah University
    • Tanner Dance, University of Utah
    • Arts Are Core Workshop, Utah State University
    • Storytelling Symposium, Weber State University


    • Utah Dance Education Organization (UDEO)
    • Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA)
    • Utah Art Education Association (UAEA)
    • Utah Advisory Council of Theatre Teachers (UACTT)
    • Utah Theatre Association (UTA)



    • Repertory Dance Theatre
    • Ririe-Woodbury Summer Workshops for Teachers
    • Utah Symphony/Utah Opera Workshops for Teachers
    • Utah Arts Festival Workshops for Teachers
    • Utah Arts & Museums Workshops for Teachers
    • Utah Festival Opera
    • Arts Inc.
    • Timpanogos Storytelling Festival
    • Children's Dance Theatre Summer Workshop
    • Statewide Arts Partnership "Evenings for Educators"
    • (Held alternately at museums across the state - Free to the public)
    • University of Utah Library and Book Arts Center
    • University of Utah Art in a box
    • Crayola Workshop (Free for schools)
    • Springville Museum Art Talks (Free for schools)


    Arts in the Community

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    Don't be afraid to take your child with you to public arts events and festivals. Even if the programs are not specifically catered for children, with a bit of research, you can make it a worthwhile learning activity for the whole family. 


    Now Playing Utah hosts a website that serves as a directory of events, resources, workshops, artist profiles, and educational opportunities throughout Utah.


      • Alpine Art Center, Alpine
      • Bountiful Davis Art Center, Bountiful
      • Cache Valley Center for the Arts, Logan
      • Covey Center for the Arts, Provo
      • Eccles Community Art Garden, Ogden
      • Kimball Art Center, Park City
      • Moab Arts & Recreation Center, Moab


      • Professional performing arts companies
      • Local Arts Councils
      • City or County-sponsored organizations
      • University performing arts groups


      • Be respectful of the visual and performing artwork and those who created it
      • If you are in a gallery or museum, respect the space, do not touch the artwork or leave litter
      • Please arrive for performances on time
      • Stay until the completion of the performance so all artists have an audience, especially children
      • At performances, turn all electronic devices off and leave them off
      • Do not take photos of performers or videotape/ record performances
      • Leave munchies at home or save them for movies and athletic events • Keep feet off the seats in front of you
      • Applauding and BRAVO or BRAVA are fine but save whistles and screams for a rock concert
      • Make sure you take all your belongings when you leave, including playbills and programs
      art show



      Colleges and Universities have a wide variety of concerts and performances for families. Please visit their websites for more information.


      • Ballet West, Salt Lake City
      • Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Salt Lake City
      • Repertory Dance Theatre, Salt Lake City
      • Children's Dance Theatre & Virginia Tanner Dance, Salt Lake City


      • Capitol Theatre, Salt Lake City
      • Hale Center Theatre, West Valley & Orem
      • Ellen Eccles Theatre, Logan
      • Peery's Egyptian Theatre, Ogden
      • Egyptian Theatre, Park City
      • Pioneer Theatre Company, Salt Lake City
      • SCERA Center for the Arts, Orem
      • Utah Festival Opera, Logan

      Film and Media Arts

      • Final Cult Film Festival, BYU
      • Provo Red Rock Film Festival, Springdale
      • Salt Lake City Film Festival, SLC
      • Spy Hop Productions, SLC
      • Southern Utah International Documentary Film Festival
      • Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Ogden SLC
      • Utah Film Center's Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children & Youth, SLC


      • City/County symphonies
      • Moab Music Festival, Moab
      • Ogden Music Festival, Ogden
      • Utah Chamber Artists Youth Music Festival, SLC
      • Utah Festival Opera, Logan
      • Utah Symphony Utah Opera, SLC
      • Utah Youth Symphony Orchestras & Ensembles

      Visual Arts

      • Brigham City Museum, Brigham City
      • Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts, SLC
      • Children's Museum of Utah, SLC
      • Church History Museum of Utah, SLC
      • Fairview Museum of History & Art, Fairview
      • Salt Lake City Public Library Gallery, SLC
      • Springville Museum of Art, Springville
      • St. George Art Museum, St. George
      • Utah Museum of Fine Arts, SLC
      • Western Heritage Museum, Vernal
      • Braithwaite Fine Arts Gallery, SUU, Cedar City
      • Museum of Art, BYU, Provo
      • Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, USU, Logan
      • Sears Art Museum Gallery, Dixie State College, St. George
      • Shaw Gallery Weber State University, Ogden
      • Utah Museum of Fine Arts, U of U, SLC
      • Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, SLC
      • Woodbury Art Museum, UVU, Orem

      Websites & Resources

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      Arts events in Utah at

      Arts Inc. >

      Friends of Art Works for Kids! >

      Utah Education Network >

      Utah Division of Arts & Museums >

      Utah PTA >

      Utah State Office of Education Fine Arts >

      National Resources Americans for the Arts >

      Arts Education Partnership >

      National Endowment for the Arts >

      Kennedy Center >

      Champions of Change >



      Learn More About Arts and the 4 C's

      Arts-Infused Education Leadership

      > Crayola-Introduction-Guide.pdf

      Crayola Dreammakers Lessons


      BYU Arts Partnership: Lesson plans & other resources


      Fun, Free, Drama Activitives for Kids




      Freecycle is a grassroots movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers. Membership is free.


      Each school district has a foundation to which parents can make tax-deductable donations to support the arts



      Communicating with Decision

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      Get to KNOW your decision makers at all levels - local, district, state. Build relationships and get to know them as people, neighbors, and friends. Invite a decision maker to your school arts events. If the individual is unable to attend, send a short email report with photos, links to video clips, etc. with a short note like the following:

      "I'm sorry you weren't able to make it to this arts event. I thought you'd like to know about the accomplishments of our students."

      When you can, attend school board meetings. When arts-related issues are on the agenda, school board members will be interested in your input because they know you are dedicated to arts education.

      Follow arts and education legislation through your PTA legislative vice-president. Consider issues such as extra graduation requirements reducing time for arts classes, the impact of online education, etc.

      Write letters asking for decision makers' attention to arts and education issues.Write thank you letters to decision makers. Even a short postcard will do. Remember, a letter that is heartfelt and concise holds attention more effectively than one that is lengthy and complex. Keep communication short and positive, and express disappointment courteously.

      "How can we turn our back on an endeavor which increases our children's cultural intelligence, heightens individual sensitivity and deepens our collective sense of humanity? I suggest to you that we cannot." 

      - Alec Baldwin at Arts Advocacy Day,1997

      Parent/Community Handbook