Process art simply focuses on the process, rather than the finished product, and on what kids learn and experience from that process. Rather than copying someone else’s example, it is open ended, with no set rules or right/wrong about how it should be made or what it should look like. It invites and allows kids to explore and create freely, express their own creativity and come up with something that is individual and personal and unique to them.
For kids to get the most out of process art, we as adults need to let go of worrying about the mess, things not going according to plan, or our expectations of how it should look and/or how kids should put it all together. It needs to be focused on the child and what they want and need and what will engage them, challenge them and interest them, rather than on what the adults want. It is about just going with the flow and seeing what happens.
There are many benefits to process art, including:
- gross motor skills development – especially when they use their whole body to create large-scale projects on walls, sheets, big cardboard boxes etc
- fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination – eg using their fingers/hands to paint or hold and manipulate paint brushes and/or other implements for painting/creating, squeezing paint/water out of bottles etc
- speech/language skills – describing what they are doing/making, why they do things in a certain way, how it feels/looks/smells/tastes, what it looks like (size, colours, shapes, patterns and textures), how they put things together, what the art means to them, how it makes them feel both during and after the process; asking for what they need from adults or other children using the same space and resources; retelling the process to another person etc
- problem solving – how to choose the best materials, surfaces and techniques to use for what they want to make/create, what to do if the unexpected happens or things don’t go according to plan, how to use the same process to make/create something else etc
- social/emotional skills – sharing resources, taking turns and negotiating for what they want/need for their project, working together and cooperating with others; expressing their feelings through their artwork
- developing imagination and creativity through experimentation, learning from mistakes, finding solutions, and coming up with new ideas
This is part of a series of posts about process art for kids. Check out the other posts here: