Learn what process art, why it’s so important for our kids, and how to add it to your routine with ease.
From toddlers to preschoolers to older kids and beyond, process art is beneficial and fun. It’s no secret that people who love art love the entire process, from start to finish.
There may be moments of frustration or indecisiveness, but overall, the enjoyment and pride we feel from our works of art are found in the journey just as much (if not more than) the final product.
What is process art?
To understand process art, first think about the different types of art you’ve done with your child, or in your own life. Sometimes your projects have a clear end goal, and other times they’re rather open-ended and child-led.
Process art is child-led, choice-driven, and leaves plenty of room for open-ended exploration and discovery. It focuses on the joy of creation, and has no clear outcome or goal.
Process art is art that relishes in, well, the process of creating art and experiencing creativity.
What are the benefits of process art?
Process art is great for all ages, because it gets the brain working in new ways that otherwise would be stifled. It’s perfect for young children because it’s developmentally appropriate. Toddlers, preschoolers, and young children are natural sensory explorers, and process art is all about sensory exploration.
Process Art Benefits:
- Promotes creativity and imagination
- Helps children gain confidence in forming and executing original ideas
- Helps children understand cause and effect, as well as dealing with disappointment
- Develops problem-solving skills.
That’s not including all of the benefits they’re getting from the sensory aspect of process art. For more info on sensory play benefits, check out my free guide to sensory bins. (Sensory play quite literally helps our children’s brain create new connections!)
Why process art is great for parents
In addition to being great to kids, process art is beneficial to us as parents as well, because it allows us to let go of expectations and enjoy the ride alongside our children.
Haven’t you ever noticed how stressful some crafts are? We have an idea in our heads of how the process should go, and what the outcome should be, and when our kids deviate from that, as they often will, it can leave us feeling frazzled.
Process art can also be easier to set up and enjoy, too. It’s generally cheaper, because you don’t need any specific materials.
How to prepare and facilitate a process art session
Here are a few ways you can prepare and facilitate a process art session:
- Create a station of materials that your child can easily grab on their own
- Don’t interfere with their process
- Ask questions, and answer questions delicately
- If your child asks for help, join in, but don’t take over
- Make it a positive and fun experience
What is the difference between process art and product art?
The two aren’t mutually exclusive, though there are differences in this context.
Product art is all about the finished art piece. This, too, can be celebrated with process art, as all art comes to an end, right? But product art involves knowing and striving for a specific outcome. Process art is all about giving our children the freedom to pave their own way throughout the art session. They might have an end goal, they might not. Either way, parents and teachers aren’t expecting or encouraging them to do anything specific.
Getting started with process art
It may seem daunting if you’re a type A parent, but I promise, after a few sessions, you’ll see the benefit of process art for both you and your child. Here’s the perfect way to dive into your first process art session:
1. Let go of expectations and boundaries. And yes, let go of the need to keep things clean. It will likely be messy. Don’t stress.
2. Pull out craft materials and set them up at a table for your child. It could be as simple as paint and paper, or as complicated as some construction paper shapes, buttons, pipe cleaners, glue, etc.
3. Present the station to your child and watch the magic happen.
What if my kid doesn’t show any interest in process art?
If your child blankly stares at the white paper and paint, it’s likely they just need a nudge in the right direction. On your own paper, start making art! Anything! Splashes, swirls, lines! Anything goes. Seeing their parent diving right in and exploring what you can create with the given materials is usually just what they need.
Process art examples
- Paint and paper
- Contact paper and craft materials
- Glue and craft materials
- Pumpkin stamping art
- Puffy sidewalk paint
If you liked this post, don’t forget to pin it for later: