That mantra is the perfect explanation for process art, art that is focused on the process involved rather than the product. Instead of having specific circles to cut out that must be glued together in a certain way to create the designated paper turtle exactly the way the teacher made it, toddlers need the freedom to explore the materials and experiment with them. Process art promotes that exploration by giving the kids a bit of guidance- dip this pine cone in paint and then stamp onto the paper- but without the expectation of the kids doing things exactly "right". Just about every time we have a process art activity involving paint or really any liquid, at least one kid decides to ditch the paintbrush (or whatever we are using as a paintbrush) and put their entire hand in the paint. And at least one other kid just dumps the whole bowl of paint onto the paper.

And that's totally okay! Putting hands in the paint allows them to explore the texture of the material and to see how it might look or feel differently when put on the paper with their hands versus the brush. And dumping it out allows them to watch how this liquid pours, drips, and spreads. Toddlers between 2-3 years old are also at varying comfort levels when it comes to their fine motor skills. So it's great for them to practice these skills by gripping and using different tools- pine cones, paint brushes, spray bottles- but it's also okay for them to choose finger painting instead. By allowing them to manipulate the materials in whatever way they'd like, the kids are able to follow their own curiosity and have a fun, creative experience with these new and interesting textures and tools.

What are your favorite process art projects to do at home?