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Kids Explore Their World Through Process Art

Creating through play is essential to learning.

Each week I try to share a fun and easy project you can do at home with your little ones. My posts usually include step by step instructions to get a final result. But, what started my blogging journey is simply making messes at home with my toddlers. Over the years we have enjoyed splatter painting, adding food coloring to snow sculptures, body painting and so much more. Through making messes we have explored our imaginations and the world around us; and have learned just how things work. 

Toddlers and young kids are innately creative. Process art focuses on creating for the sake of creating with no fixed instructions. It is completely open ended. We often get caught up in making things Pinterest perfect and share worthy that we forget about the process of creating.

Process art allows kids to explore different materials of their choosing without expectations for perfection. Just wiggling a paint brush around on an empty page opens the door for creativity, so does squishing paints through your fingers and toes, or doodling on scrap paper. So how can you help your little ones explore their world through process art?

5 ways to help your little ones explore their world through process art:

1. Make a creation station. Create an inviting space with open access to art supplies. This allows your child to grab supplies when inspiration hits, and it gives them a place to work. Be sure to include a small table, or use a table cloth to accommodate messier projects.

2. Skip the brushes. Let your child immerse themselves in the sensory process of creating. Let their fingers do the walking through paints, glue, pudding, sand or other another medium and then onto the paper. Without the constraints of lines, your child is free to follow where their imaginations go. Play dough is another excellent way to let your kids get lost in the process of creating with no end project in mind.

3. One size does not fit all. Keep a selection of different sized paper on hand and allow your child to choose how big their project will be. You can even hang a giant piece of paper on the wall and let your kids create an endless mural by adding new things to it over time. Let them choose a new medium each time for a really cool one of a kind piece of art.

4. Get an easel. If you can’t spare the space for a table get a simple art easel with some storage. This will give your child a place to create, and it is mobile. You can take it outside and let your kids draw or paint what they see. 

5. Think outside the box. Don’t just limit yourself to creating art at home at your creation station and using traditional art supplies. Get outside to let kids draw in the dirt with sticks, build rock sculptures by the river or build sand castles at the beach.   Kids can create patterns with different colored leaves and add in other things they find outside. The entire world is literally their canvas. (And most of the mess stays outside).

The most important thing to remember is to let your kids take the lead. Don’t offer criticism or directions; just watch their natural ability to create. Creativity is the foundation for so much of their future learning and problem solving skills. Allowing your kids to engage in the process of painting, or drawing or building with found objects naturally encourages fine/gross motor skills, sensory exploration, spatial reasoning and so much more.

Using washable paints, markers and crayons will definitely take some of the worries out of the mess factor. However accepting that messes are a part of the process is the key to giving your child the freedom to explore. 

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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