Self-Exploring Through Unguided Art

Children have a natural tendency to create and explore. Play and open-ended activities give children freedom to express themselves and art is one medium children are able to do so. Art provides opportunitites for children to experiment, create, build and represent/symbolize experiences while making sense of the world around them.

When guiding children’s art activities it is important to remember that the “process” is more important than the “end product.” Process-focused art allows children a chance to explore art materials and create what/how they want instead of feeling pressure to create a specific thing. Process art is the freedom to experiment with paints, mixing colors, creating new shapes and using different textures.

Benefits and characteristics of process-focused art:

  • There are no step-by-step instructions
  • There is no right or wrong way to explore and create
  • The art is focused on the experience and on exploration of techniques, tools, and materials
  • The art is unique and original
  • The art is entirely the children’s own
  • The art experience is a child’s choice

What skills children learn through process-focused art

  • Social and emotional Children relax, focus, and express their feelings.
  • Language and literacy Children may choose to talk about their art and how they created it.
  • Cognitive Children compare, predict, plan, and problem solve throughout the process.
  • Physical Children use small motor skills to paint, write, glue, use clay, and make collages
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