Is your child doodling on every piece of paper they can get their hands on? Do they dance uncontrollably when their favorite song comes on? Are they saying lines along with their favorite movie? Well if you answered yes to any of these questions, your child may have an underlying talent in the arts that is waiting to be brought to light. And as summer approaches it’s a perfect time to nurture those talents at performing arts summer programs and camps.

If you and your child decide that a performing arts summer camp is right for them, they’ll not only spend their vacation learning about something they love, they’ll also gain numerous benefits from the programs that will go well beyond summer break.

Academic Benefits
There are countless benefits to arts education and exposure but one of the largest is academic benefits. A 2006 study commissioned by the National Assembly of States Arts Agencies found that the reading of dramatic plays helps children comprehend and improves reading skills among all age groups but especially for first graders who are reading below their grade level. Similarly, students who are exposed and participate in arts programming show greater proficiency in language and math, achieving overall higher scores on the verbal and math portions of the S.A.T.

The reason for these increases is that certain forms of arts instruction enhance basic reading skills, language development and writing skills. For example, numerous data shows “the use of dramatic enactment can make a measurable difference in helping student” achieve goals such as story understanding, reading comprehension and writing skills. This study conducted by www.nasaa-arts.orgtracks the numerous results of arts education and the benefits they have on children and teens.

Community and Civic Engagement
The advantages, although great in the academic spectrum, go far beyond school and academic achievement. In a study conducted at the University of California Los Angeles, young adults who had experienced intensive arts in high school were found to have more civic engagement through community volunteering, voting and involvement in school and local politics. Additionally, these increases were seen across all levels of socioeconomic homes, high and low. Some research also shows that arts can have an impact on how tweens and teen communicate with their parents and other adults.  And at its core, communication and civic engagement will better help prepare kids for college, the work force and the future. The full data on the coorilation between community and civic engagement and arts training can be found on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

Mental and Physical Impact
Kids who participate in the arts for an extended period of time will also experience a number of mental health and physical benefits. With 18 percent of adolescents being obese, according to the CDC, performing arts activities like dance are a fantastic way for them to experience continuous physical exercise. Doing heavy physical activity, like dance, will not only increase the amount of time your kids are exercising but will also help to decrease levels any depression and anxiety, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website.

Additionally, doing physical activity, like performing arts training in dance, music or acting is a great confidence booster for your kids. They’ll learn about communicating in public, working with new friends and expressing their emotions openly through dialogue, which will inevitably help them communicate better at home.

When sending your kids to a performing arts camp keep in mind that just because your child is interested in dancing doesn’t mean that they’ll grow up to become a famous choreographer. But nurturing those talents will certainly help them no matter what; in school, in life and in health. Take the first step when you see your child’s talents show through, your kids will thank you later on.