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12. Process art

Alexis Ralphs May 01 • 7 min read
12. Process art

Getting the craft box out to make decorations and cards with our children sounds like a cosy, Pinterest-friendly activity but can all too often end in disaster.  We get annoyed when they do it wrong, criticise them for making a mess, make them do things again to achieve a better result. Everyone is miserable and craft becomes something no-one wants to do.⠀⠀⠀⠀

If you can resist making rigid plans and imposing your own design ideas on your child, you may find you are more pleased with the results than you expected. ⠀⠀

In teaching this deliberate letting go of the reins is called process art. Much like open-ended play, you offer the materials and see what your child comes up with. There's no right or wrong. The end result is not the point, but the process of creating is.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Fine motor control, spatial awareness, an appreciation of colour and the development of an aesthetic sense all spring from the process. Whether the finished product looks like a Vermeer is irrelevant.At this age, it's the skills that are important. Learning how to apply glue using a spreader, how to manage paint on a brush or draw zig-zag lines. Time and space to explore are all you need.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

You can still influence the results -at Christmas provide only green and red paint, silver and gold glitter and shiny craft paper, for example. But let your child decide what to do with it. The result may not be Pinterest-perfect, but the skills they learn will last forever.

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Is it almost Christmas? Or Easter? Or Eid?

The time of year when we have fixed ideas about the kinds of decorations, cards and artwork that our children will produce?

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'Tis the season of the Pinterest-friendly craft idea.

The time of year when we have fixed ideas about the kinds of decorations, Christmas cards and artwork that our children will produce.

We get annoyed when they do it 'wrong', we tell them to make it neater. Their work is slap-dash. They just want to get it done and get away from us.

We have made everyone miserable. But the house looks nice, so that alright then, isn't it?

The 100 Toys approach? Just say no. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

No to rigid plans and to imposing your ideas on your child.

Are you familiar with the idea of process art? It's like open-ended play: you offer the materials and see what your child comes up with. There's no right or wrong.

Fine motor control, spatial awareness, an appreciation of colour and the development of an aesthetic sense all spring from the process. Whether the finished product looks like a Vermeer is irrelevant.

The results can still be Christmassy - if that's what you want - but the ideas must come from your child. Provide only green and red paint, silver and gold glitter and shiny craft paper, for example. But let your child decide what to do with it. 

At this age, it's the skills that are important. Learning how to apply glue using a spreader, how to manage paint on a brush or draw zig-zag lines. Time and space to explore are all you need.

I'm not saying you should do process art forever. At some point children have to learn to draw, just like mark-making eventually has to resolve into writing. But imposing your ideas simply makes the journey less fun. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

What anti-Pinterest experience could you offer today?

 

 

 

 

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