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So What is Process Art and Why Should I Care About It?

So we talk a lot about "Process Art" but maybe you are wondering what the heck that is exactly and why it matters. Well let's break it down a bit.

Whether you are a new parent, trying to provide a variety of creative experiences for your young child or maybe you have been doing this parent gig for awhile and just want to add some creation to your days, process art is such a great way to jump into that! Process art is a way to explore freely and create without fear of failure. It gives kids a way to explore their senses and use their creative side in open-ended ways which takes away all the stress of a finished product. There are no tears or statements like "I can't do that" or "This does not look as good as that one." It's all free exploration and there isn't a finished product to try and match! Don't get me wrong, those projects are great too, and we still do plenty of them, but it isn't our focus! Process Art is also a great way to help sensitive children get used to mess and a variety of sensory materials too!

Process Art is the perfect way for you to jump into art activities with your children when art may seem daunting or overwhelming. When doing art activities with children, you may find yourself searching for ideas online, finding a cute project making a unicorn or alligator or whatever it is and wondering how on earth am I going to get my child to that end goal. Well with process art, that isn't ever a concern. You get to set out the materials and watch your child's creative side go wild! They get time to explore and create and you get the satisfaction of providing the experience to make it happen! You go mama!

So what is Process Art and how do I do it?

Process Art is all about the experience, the exploration, and the "process" of art. It is not about reaching a final goal. These types of projects can start out as one thing and spin into something completely different based on the child's creativity. Don't be afraid or concerned when the paint and sponges you set out turn into finger painting or being squished between hands. This is your child using the creative side of their brains and exploring on their own. Our goal as parents is to provide experiences, guide when needed, and then just get out of the way and let them be who they are! Process Art is such a great way to do this.

So we understand the goals, or the lack of goals, of Process Art but now we want to know how to do it. Again, provide your children with the materials, guide them as needed, and then let them go! When you are ready to create, you might set out paint and tools that aren't paint brushes (spoons, forks, feathers, pinecones, etc.) and let your child explore how the tools create different designs. Maybe you have watercolor paint and oil pastels and are exploring what happens if you color with the pastels first versus watercolor paint first. The goal is to provide the materials and guide them through ideas on how to use it or maybe even to step back completely and let them figure it out on their own. Give them a variety of materials, introduce a variety ways to use tools, and watch the magic happen!

But what about the mess?

Ok, art is messy. It just is. And in my opinion, the messier it is, the more they are being creative and engaged! But if mess just isn't your thing, here are some ways to combat it!

  1. Have a designated area that you aren't as concerned about and that cleans up easily. Your living room and close proximity to a white couch probably isn't the place! My suggestions are a space that isn't carpeted, close to a sink for easy clean up, and large enough to move around freely. We like to use our kitchen table or kitchen floor or even outside.

  2. Protect your space! Have some cheap large plastic tablecloths on hand always! We also have plastic place mats that we use for smaller projects.

  3. Baby Wipes. I swear, we haven't had babies in the house for years, but we will probably never not have baby wipes! Seriously, just put a pack of wipes right there at your creating space. You'll thank me later.

  4. Stay close. While we want our kids to create and explore independently, I would recommend not going too far so you can intervene on mess that is going, let's say, out of the protected creative zone! This is especially important with little ones. You do not want to have a creative process art session happening as a way to keep your kids busy while you go hop in the shower real quick... trust me!

You've got this! Grab the art supplies, protect your space, and get ready to create! And check back soon as I will be sharing my favorite art supplies, and lists of process art activities to get you started. Until then, head to Pinterest and just do a search, you'll end up with so many great ideas from so many great art teachers, artists, and other moms just like you!

But maybe you're not ready to tackle this whole art thing on your own yet. That's ok and that's what we're for! If you are in the South Lyon, Michigan area, host a Creative Play Session with us. We would love to come facilitate a session for you and help show you the beauty that is process art. Helping parents feel empowered to provide art experiences with our kids is our passion and we would love the chance to do that for you! Just head HERE to learn more about our programs and request a booking!

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