Process Art: What's the point?

Many of our LEAPers get a kick out of the art station each week. We love to see little legs running over to check out the available materials! You may see spaghetti and paint, cotton balls, clay, herbs and spices, spray bottles, brightly colored chalk, or sand to sprinkle. While we use different materials each week, our goal is always the same: to encourage creativity and exploration using process-focused art.

What is Process Art?

In order to better understand process art, it is best to look at process-focused art versus product-focused art. Process art focuses on the act of creating, whereas product art focuses on developing a specific creation.

Courtesy of NAEYC

Courtesy of NAEYC

Art is beneficial to children, no matter how it is presented. Process art, however, opens up a world of exploration for kids. They are free to use the materials however they choose and create something that is uniquely theirs. When a child is finished, it is unlikely that his or her creation will look like anyone else’s. It’s fascinating to see creativity at work!

Process art benefits the whole child. The freedom to work creatively provides social-emotional, language, cognitive, and physical benefits:

  • Social-Emotional – Children can relax, focus, feel successful, and express their feelings.
  • Language – Children and adults can engage in conversation about their artwork. This provides wonderful opportunities for caregivers to model language.
  • Cognitive – Children have the opportunity to compare, predict, plan, and problem solve.
  • Physical – Children use their fine motor skills to paint, write, glue, mold clay, and combine materials.

Throughout the LEAP program, we’ve tested many process art ideas. Some have been great successes, while others have been flops… We’ve listed a few of our favorite projects from over the years. They’re easy to do at home and can provide meaningful bonding experiences for you and your toddler!

Next time you’re at LEAP, make sure to swing by the art station. While it may seem messy – and a little unruly – it’s truly designed to be that way! It’s all about the process not the product, the journey not the destination!

Written by Nicole Filippone