Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Enriching Your Child this Winter
Local arts & enrichment programs throughout Indy

by Amy Seng Holtzman

January 01, 2012

If you look up enrich in the dictionary, you’ll find, “To make richer, to enhance, to improve the value of.” There are plenty of enrichment activities in Indianapolis that will help do all of those things for your children. Whether you’re looking for art, drama, sports or just some fun to keep the family entertained this winter, we’ve got you covered.

For the artist in your home, try the Indianapolis Art Center. You’ll find classes for ages 2 and up. The classes range from drawing to ceramics to glass blowing.

Lisa DeHayes, director of marketing, said, “The Art Center not only helps youth develop skills in art, they also use art to help children build their self-awareness, independence and self-esteem, and since it’s fun, children don’t even know they’re learning.”

You can find a complete schedule online at

Another option is the Herron School of Art & Design Community Learning Programs. The next session starts February 18, and there are classes for grades 2-12 and adults. The eight-week program culminates with an open house and an awards ceremony.

Visit to learn more.

Your young actor can find programs to channel his or her dramatics. The Young Actors Theatre hosts classes for grades K-2, 3-7 and 8-12 on Saturday mornings.

Catherine Wade, the associate artistic director, said activities vary with each grade but can include improvisation, musical theatre and behind-the-scenes work.

You can find more details on the next session starting February 12 at

The Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is a Christian-based program. Artistic director, Many Polster, said CYT teaches students to perform with integrity, so they don’t become the next Lindsay Lohan. The group stages four performances each year. Enrollment for the spring session opens February 1 at

For ongoing enrichment activities, head to the Y or the JCC. At YMCA branches, you’ll find after-school care with games, learning and homework help. The Y also offers School’s Out Camp on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day and even on snow days.

At the Arthur M. Glick Jewish Community Center, you’ll find all the things you’d expect such as swimming and tennis, but you’ll also find dance, martial arts and gymnastics classes. There’s also Math Circle for ages 10-15. The program helps students tackle math with games, puzzles and artwork. Middle school students can sign up for a construction class, too.

Kenneth Lambert is the middle and high school coordinator at the JCC. He said students learn basic construction techniques, tool safety and get to build a custom piece. The class is open to members and non-members.

Conner Prairie has a lot to offer this winter. There are plenty of 19th century projects to explore including soap and broom making. Preschoolers can try a building workshop. Conner Prairie is offering free admission on Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17 and has a special program lined up about famous African Americans.

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center will have free admission to the Indiana Experience on MLK Day, too. Students can celebrate the life of Dr. King with music, poetry and dance performances throughout the day. At the You Are There exhibit, students can also be part of that fateful night in 1968 when Robert F. Kennedy told supporters in Indianapolis that Dr. King had been assassinated. You’ll be immersed in the evening thanks to hologram technology.

At the Eiteljorg Museum, you can enjoy American Girl Josefina Day on January 21. Your child can learn about Josefina’s culture through games, storytelling and crafts. Girls and boys will find something to love on Josefina Day. Also new at Eiteljorg in January is Thursday playdates. Preschoolers will learn about color, shapes and textures through poetry, dance and of course, art. Registration is required. Classes are $35 for members and $45 for non-members.

Indianapolis branch libraries will take you back to the age of dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Show as visitors try to figure out what really happened to the prehistoric creatures. The traveling show will be visiting various branches from January 21 through May so check with your library for the date and time.

You can learn even more about dinosaurs at the Children’s Museum by registering for Beyond the Paleo Lab Window on January 13 or March 6. Families can work with paleontologists and make a cast of real T-Rex teeth.

For the ultimate enrichment experience, check out the Indianapolis Zoo’s Dolphin In-Water Adventure. You’ll encounter the dolphins face-to-face and learn about feeding and training. At $180 for zoo members, this unique adventure isn’t cheap, but the zoo promises memories of a lifetime, a souvenir towel and a digital photo to remember your special day.

Enrichment is all around if you know where to look. Our monthly calendar has plenty of other opportunities for you and your family.