Process-Based Art Activities For Daycare And At Home

Whether you're a daycare teacher or a parent, you may have heard about process art. Unlike coloring pages or structured projects, process-based activities encourage young children to explore, experiment, and make their own discoveries. These artsy ideas focus on the process (hence, the name) at hand. That means if the children are trying out a painting process activity, they're exploring with paint. The same goes for other types of materials and mediums. How can you use process art in the daycare classroom, in the preschool, or at home?

Provide Plenty of Tools

You've put out the paint. Now what? You know that the kiddos should start exploring. But, you need a way for them to explore. So, you give them paper—and lots of it. They're using their hands, swirling and mushing the temperas together as they finger paint away. Along with this type of open experimentation you can also add an array of tools to play with. This might include paintbrushes in different sizes, rollers, brayers, sponges, stamps, craft feathers, bouncy balls (they can roll the paint), or anything else that helps the kids to explore.The same goes for other types of art processes. If you're using clay, offer the kids modeling clay, salt dough, and play dough along with craft sticks, plastic spoons, and other tools to mold and model with. 

Get Hands-On

Exploration during process art is a hands-on experience. That means that you (as the daycare teacher or parent) need to stay hands-off. Of course, you should stick nearby to supervise (for safety's sake). But, you need to let the children create for themselves. The entire process should be active—from start to finish. This doesn't mean that you can't guide them or give them ideas when it comes to where to start. Instead of having the kids sit back and watch you paint, sculpt, draw, or collage, bring them into the example. Put out the paints and invite them to splatter the temperas along with you or sit as a group and play with clay until they get the hang of it. Then you can step back and watch as they make their own discoveries.

Talk About It

Pull in a critical thinking aspect into your process art activities. As the children create, ask open-ended questions. These will get them thinking about the whats, hows and whys of their art processes. Open-ended questions don't have "yes" or "no" answers and get kids to think on a deeper level. For example, "Why did you choose to use those colors of paint?" is an open-ended question that you might ask as a child mix and blends different hues.

Play up the young child's natural curiosity with a process-based art activity. Daycares, preschools, and parents alike can use this type of artful idea to spark creativity and encourage learning. For more information, contact local professionals like Mountainside School.