Art is often about the process, rather than the product – which is particularly important to remember when doing art activities with young children.
As early childhood educators, we’re all familiar with the idea that if the end products all look identical, there probably hasn’t been much learning, creativity or imagination taking place.
Pre K + K Sharing put it nicely as process art being open-ended, exploratory, unique and individual, and product art being close-ended, instruction-heavy, structured and modelled.
We can encourage and provoke process driven art by providing open-ended resources and materials for children in a safe environment, so they are able to explore the world of art themselves and be the master of their own creations.
A fun provocation for a group art activity is spray sheet art. All you need is an old sheet, spray bottles and water mixed with dye or paint.
Using a spray bottle is great fine motor skill practice for young children and exercises the hand muscles used for writing. When a group of children are all working on the same art project, they learn communication skills and how to work together.
Udder painting is a novel way for children to explore with paint and colour. You can fill a whole glove up with one colour or use each finger for a different colour. Different combinations of paint when mixed on paper, will create new colours. Encourage children to guess which colour will be created by different combinations! Once the paint is on the paper, children can mix the paint with their fingers or a paint brush, or leave as is…the splatters create interesting patterns!
Salt dye pictures are another art provocation for children. This fusion of art and science is bound to captivate children of all ages! The salt sucks up the watercolours and appears to travel in its own predetermined direction…a great prompt to ask children why they think this happens. There is no need for intricate designs with this activity, the watercolours create their own patterns, simply beautiful! Talk with children about the way the colours mix with each other, primary colours creating secondary colours…a great prompt to encourage children to talk about which colours they predict will appear!
Art and messy play are so important for young children’s development of fine motor skills, language, imagination and creativity. For more ideas on how to support children’s growing minds with art, science and sensory activities check out Storypark’s YouTube channel at storypark.tv