Just like teachers, parents and caregivers play a pivotal role in fostering their children’s creativity and appreciation for the arts. Whether through simple activities, family outings, or intentional daily routines, parents can provide their children with a rich and stimulating environment that encourages artistic exploration and improved academic success.

How Creativity Promotes Family Bonding

The arts stimulate the imagination and allow children to explore diverse perspectives, fostering the development of creative thinking, problem-solving skills, and interpersonal bonding. Creative activities can be connected to daily routines, for example, creating unique centerpieces when setting the table, telling stories while folding laundry, or singing a lullaby at bedtime. Identifying arts experiences that connect to homework assignments and other at-home responsibilities can open up new ways to solve problems together. Let’s explore some innovative activities families can include to promote bonding and nurture their children’s creative potential.

Make an Ocean Drum Out of a Pizza Box

Imagine inviting the sounds of the ocean into your own home, or even imitating the sounds of waves with your own hands. If pizza was on the menu and there is a leftover box, then using the Arts Connection Resource, Building a Cardboard Pizza Box Ocean Drum created by Young Audiences teaching artist Hector Morales’, is a great project for family bonding through music. After creating a pizza box ocean drum, parents and caregivers can easily make music together. This project doesn’t require any special equipment, only a few items that can be found around the house.

Here’s what you’ll need:
Pizza box
Duct Tape
Cardboard scraps
Dried peas or small beans like mung beans


  1. Reinforce and cover the inside corners of the pizza box with duct tape.
  2. Reinforce and cover the outside corners of the pizza box.
  3. Use additional cardboard to cut several 2-inch strips. Tape the 2-inch strips on the inside corners of the box, making a rough circle inside the box.
  4. Finally, add the loose peas or beans inside the center of the box and close the box.
  5. Seal the box closed with duct tape.

The ocean drum can be played by shifting the box from side to side, tapping the box with fingertips, or shaking the box. With this activity, parents and caregivers will be able to help their children understand different rhythmic sounds created by the drum and encourage them to explore and compose music of their own. This project is a great opportunity to encourage confidence while providing a calming sensory experience. Playing with the ocean drum before bed can become part of your nighttime routine.

Create Your Own Story Through Music and Sounds

Explore the magical world of music with Music and Sound Stories, a resource created by Young Audiences teaching artist, Mary Knysh. This resource is a great complimentary supplement to the Ocean Drum and will inspire families to tell their stories through the language of music. Parents and caregivers can encourage a world of imagination and creativity by applying the elements of beats, rhythm, and melodies to tell and share stories with their children. Through music improvisation and sound, families will enjoy a fun and accessible way to learn about self-discovery and character development.


Use your ocean drum to explore character education and social-emotional learning with Queen Nur’s Sandpiper & Whale. This fun tale from the Marshall Islands teaches a very important lesson about the kinship of all living things. As you listen to the story, think about how the characters could build better relationships and make better decisions.

Let the ocean drum take you on a journey through different cultures with Jeannine Osayande & Dunya’s Diaspora West African Drum and Dance Traditions. Explore the different ways the music and rhythm of West African Diaspora cultural practices are used to affirm community, communication, cultural sensitivity, and inspire meaningful dialogue.

Use these inspiring creative practices to help children create stories of their own. Encourage them to engage in creating narratives by exploring multisensory experiences. By weaving music and sound into storytelling, parents and caregivers can nurture their children’s love for literature and art, while fostering deep connections.

Through the arts, children learn to experience a world of possibilities, as they discover beauty and inspiration in everyday moments. Parents and caregivers who participate in creative activities with their children have the opportunity to make learning more enjoyable and form valuable memories.  Doing these and other simple arts activities inspires families to make joyful connections, and creative expression a regular part of home life.

This article was written by Michelle Marigliano, Senior Director of Education and Equity at Young Audiences, in collaboration with Young Audiences teaching artists, Hector Morales, Mary Knysh, Queen Nur, & Jeannine Osayande & Dunya Performing Arts Company.

The mission of Young Audiences is to inspire young people and expand their learning through the arts. Since our founding in 1973, YA has grown into the region’s largest arts education organization. Early work focused on introducing children to classical music. Today, YA is a valued school partner, providing teaching artist-led programming across all art forms and numerous cultures. We are a proud member of the national network Young Audiences, Inc., comprised of 31 autonomous affiliates.

Michelle L. Marigliano
is the Senior Director of Education & Equity at YA whose passions center around the development, coordination, and implementation of student-centered arts-based initiatives. She supports programs such as workshops, residencies, and adult professional learning programs making sure that each program brings experience, understanding, creativity, and connection.



Hector Morales
is a drummer and percussionist who has combined live national and international performances for the past 15 years with teaching music in the New York area. He has performed on international stages and is the author of The Afro-Peruvian Percussion Ensemble, an instructional book/DVD nominated as the Best Educational Book of 2014 by Modern Drummer magazine.


Mary Knysh is a professional musician, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, innovative workshop facilitator, and educator. Over the past 25 years, she has traveled throughout the United States and Europe offering performances, workshops, and artist residencies with a wide range of educational, health care, and community groups and is a certified Orff Schulwerk clinician.



Karen “Queen Nur” Abdul-Malik is a nationally renowned storyteller and teaching artist who has performed in various venues from the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. to Equity Theater on Broadway. She received her Master of Arts in Cultural Sustainability from Goucher College and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from Harvard Law School.

Jeannine Osayande has been a teaching artist, choreographer, and performer of West African dance (Mali Empire) for over 35 years. She is the founder and director of Dunya Performing Arts Company whose members specialize in laying the groundwork for cultural sensitivity through intense study of the elements of various Diaspora West African drum, dance, song, storytelling, and masquerade traditions.