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12. Process art

Sep 19, 2020 • 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.

Alexis

I'm Alexis, father of four and founder of One Hundred Toys. I taught in London primary schools for thirteen years, specialising in the early years. Now I write about all things play here on the blog. Read more

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