For kids growing up pre-Netflix, we were left to our own devices. No, not iPad and iPhone devices, but creativity and imagination! This is not to say technology is not a remarkable tool for education and innovation. But the ease of these tools often sidelines the importance of screen-free time.
Growing up, I frequented dance class, guitar lessons, youth performing arts… you name it. Engaging in the arts helped me cultivate physical dexterity, honed my ability to negotiate group dynamics and fostered my problem-solving skills (sans Google). In our fast-paced world - where the average kid today will have seven careers in their lifetime - having environments that foster this kind of creativity are more important than ever.
The Calgary International Children’s Festival (Kidsfest) was created 30 years ago to provide these experiences, and continues to offer this creative environment to let kids safely explore their own imaginations today. Calgary Kidsfest welcomes over 50,000 parents, children, teachers and theatre-lovers each year!
The festival grounds provide kids an opportunity to experience puppetry, physical theatre, acrobatics, science, magic, drama, interactive art installations, music, dance, clowning, and comedy, from all over the world. These experiences are geared to give root to a child’s desire to grow and learn more, to develop their own creative form for themselves, or for others to appreciate.
This 30th festival celebration also features more outdoor activities than ever at Olympic Plaza with two stages, a new dance workshop, multicultural storytelling, hands-on arts and science activities, and local performers to keep kids engaged and entertained all day - rain or shine!
So how have these early artistic experiences changed me? Sure, I stopped practicing guitar in high school, and didn’t have time for creative writing in university. But I still attend many live performances, and now shamelessly brag about attending a weekly dance class, as I know the value and breadth it brings to my life. Being exposed to the arts enriched and continues to inform my professional and personal development. After all, it wasn’t without a little imagination that my sociology degree turned into a career in digital marketing. I credit these programs, and being forced to think outside the box (or outside of the screen), for contributing to who I am today.
The 2016 Calgary International Children’s Festival runs from May 25 to 28. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit calgarykidsfest.ca.
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