Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Benefits of Process Art

With so many websites, social media accounts, apps, and books, sometimes I feel bombarded by craft ideas. There are amazing crafts that you can make with kids, but what ever happened to process art?

Sometimes we see something cute online that we want to create with the kids, but most of the time the crafts are made by some adults and then photographed to look just perfect. When a kid does what she sees, the result might look disappointing. We sometimes forget that children learn a lot more by trying to come up with their own ideas. And it’s not the result that matters, but the process of creating.

That’s why open-ended activities might do more for kids than a perfect-looking craft that their parent/teacher have made for him to copy. The former will give them the chance to explore the tools they have through the house, to come up with original uses for them, to make their own decisions. In addition, open-ended activities will help children become more independent!

I know that it might sound difficult for some, but just start slowly, with a couple of mini-projects. You don’t need too much space (at least not more than for other crafts), and the tools and objects you can find through the house. It’s just a matter of taking the first step.

Here’s just some things you can use in process art:
  • Playdough, blu tack, or clay
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Boxes
  • Construction paper
  • Different painting tools: sponges, twigs, Q-tips, body parts, cloths
  • Lids
  • Objects from nature: branches, leaves, pine cones, rocks, shells
  • Yarn, string
  • Different textiles
  • Bubble wrap
  • Cardboard
  • Tools (with adult supervision, of course)
Process art is great for building self-esteem in children, and encouraging them to be creative. In this respect, a great book for teachers and parents to read to children is The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds. Some children lack the confidence to do things (or create art) by themselves, because they might have been criticized in the past, or just because they are doing something for the very first time.

It’s our job, as teachers and parents, to help kids cultivate their self-esteem, to encourage them in what they try to do by themselves. This is what “The Dot” is about: not being afraid of expressing yourself through art, even if it might seem that you are not talented.

If you liked this article, you might also like:
How to Support Children's Creativity

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