Everyone hopes their child will be passionate about something—ballet, baseball, art. But not every child finds his or her niche in traditional pursuits like these. If the soccer field or dance studio is not your youngster’s cup of tea, take a look at the many other extracurriculars around town. No matter your child’s interests—performing, cooking, gardening—there is a program out there to capture their hearts and enrich their little minds.

[the artist]
kids_artistEven if your child’s ‘masterpieces’ are mainly scribbles and a few shapes, bring them to the youth classes at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where children ages 3 to 5 can experience art from various cultures and time periods and then create their own! The hour-long classes are held the third Wednesday of every month, and pre-registration is required. slam.org

Chances are you can find a class at Dayspring School of the Arts for whatever kind of artist your child hopes to become. It offers circus arts (juggling, tumbling, clowning and trapeze), performance arts (musical theater, circus, drama, mime and acting skills), music (private and group lessons), dance (ballet, tap, jazz and modern), and fine arts (ceramics, drawing, sculpture, painting and more). dayspringarts.org

Does your child have an interest in architecture? Cartoons and comic books? Building with Legos? Sewing and fashion design? Most are aware that COCA offers dance and art classes, but the COCA schedule includes so many unique options like these, your child won’t be able to choose just one! cocastl.org

If the scene from Ghost got you all choked up, imagine watching your adorable youngster behind a pottery wheel. Craft Alliance offers various pottery and clay classes, as well as creative comics, painting, drawing and torch-worked glass. craftalliance.org

Another option: Laumeier Sculpture Park, laumeiersculpturepark.org

[the baker]
kids_chefRather than have your homes turned into Hell’s Kitchen, send them to L’Ecole Culinaire for a Basic Baking class, around $30. Here, mini chefs can learn cupcake recipes or make treats for various holidays, like spooky Halloween goodies and gingerbread houses for Christmas. lecole.edu

Another option: Dierbergs School of Cooking, dierbergs.com

[the musician]kids_musician
While you might want to encourage your little guy’s interest in the drums, you don’t necessarily want to hear it all the time! Send him off to rock and roll at School of Rock in downtown Kirkwood, which offers performance-based learning for kids as young as preschool. From music games, lessons on pitch and rhythm, and actual experience with every part of a real band, he’ll be putting on a concert in your living room in no time! schoolofrock.com

We’ve all heard stories about forced piano lessons—don’t carry on that tradition! There are other options out there: Check out the Folk School, which offers private lessons for ages 6 through 12 on guitar, fiddle and ukulele. folkschoolstl.org

Another option: Dave Simon’s Rock School, dsrockschool.com

[the conservationist]
kids_farmerFor those kiddos who love animals and are interested in wildlife and conservation, the Saint Louis Zoo is the place to get involved. Its countless programs and classes throughout the year for kids of all ages offer interaction with various animals, exploration of zoo habitats, and specialized instruction on the zoo’s efforts in conservation and animal care. Zoo ALIVE! is a volunteer educator program for high-schoolers. stlzoo.org

Have a little gardener who wants to expand beyond zucchini in the backyard? EarthDance, an organic farm in Florissant, offers countless opportunities. The YEAH! Program connects youth to nature, healthy eating and organic farming. The Junior Farm Crew offers paid employment for teenagers. Farm and Garden Apprenticeship offers individuals the chance to learn organic agriculture skills through hands-on work in the fields. earthdancefarms.org

Another option: Missouri Botanical Garden, mobot.org

[the scientist]kids_scientist
Forget the days of building ‘volcanoes’ at home with ingredients from the pantry. Academy of Science of St. Louis takes things to a whole new level, offering engaging instruction perfect for the recent emphasis on STEM. Middle and high school students can enroll in the Junior Academy for hands-on experience in science, engineering and medicine, like examining pet nutrition at Purina and working at Saint Louis University’s dissection labs. And teens can interact with science professionals at a Teen Science Cafe and learn more about careers in STEM fields. academyofsciencestl.org

Illustration: Jon Fogel