Today we’re going to talk a little about this Process Art movement that’s pretty popular right now. It’s just another example of taking something parents and caregivers already do with kids regularly, but giving it a name so that we understand the fundamental importance of its intention. Process Art is the means by which children can create art without instruction or confinement—there’s no end goal, there’s no final product; it’s just the act of painting, drawing, writing, doodling, that produces the learning experience.
What experiences are children getting from unconfined expressive art?
–Social and emotional growth: Freedom to relax, focus, and to feel successful by not being held to a standard of completing a final product.
–Languagelearning: Children will want to discuss their art with you, and by asking questions you can help widen their vocabulary.
–Cognitive skills: Children will have to take steps to plan, predict, and problem solve as they try to create what’s in their mind and put it to paper with mediums they might not be familiar with.
–Physicalbenefits: Hand strength, wrist flexibility, fine and gross motor skills, eye tracking, etc.
Plus, it’s just super fun to let kids play! Sometimes Story Time crafts can be confining—depending on the age range of your group, there will be outlier kids too young or too old for the craft provided. Sometimes the kids will feel frustrated with having to create something that looks just like what their neighbor is making. Uniqueness is important to the wee ones (and come on, the desire to be unique never goes away.)
So be brave, bust out the paints on a sunny day, and let the kids get messy in pursuit of process art!
Process Art Story Time Plan
Take-home brochure for parents and caregivers:
Books to Read:
Beautiful Oops! By Barney Satlzberg
Board book with extremely fun pop-outs, texture and flaps.
Children really love to explore the accidents that Saltzberg make into artistic creations, really affirms the belief that all mistakes can be made into beautiful things.
Helps ease a child’s anxieties over doing something wrong. I see this a lot more frequently in kids, due to the stressers of being raised in a competitive, capitalistic environment.
Artist Ted by Andrea Beaty
Ted the Bear has had a whole lot of jobs, but this is probably his best one.
Ted plays a vital role in demonstrating that anyone can make art, and that art can be used to spruce up any home, school, or hallway. Art belongs everywhere.
The Museum by Susan Verde
The art by Peter Reynolds in this book is so expressive, Reynolds plays fast with bold lines and brings the museum to life.
I really like introducing this book to the kids because it can help them to appreciate another venue where art lives: the museum! The High Art vs Low Art debate can be interesting when discussing with kids–what makes something worth putting in a museum?
Both of these songs are great to get children motivated about working with color! I use the Color Chorus song before a process art sessions to get the kids comfortable with the medium we’re using. If it’s crayons, or paint, or dot markers, or pastels, they can pick out the colors and hold them up and give a shout!
Crafts: Process Art Experiment
And onward to the process art! This example is from a really shady day we had outside the library. We had spare, thin poster paper and washable paints. I warned the story time parents and caregivers before hand that they should dress to mess for this story time, but I also had a set of cute smocks for the little artists to use. We provided paintbrushes and sponges. The kids were so excited by their creations–we asked them to write their names, or try to, with the help of their caregivers. We had them leave the paintings with us at the library so they could dry, and to pick them back up later in the week.