Process art is, of course, all about the process…the doing it on their own, the exploring, the learning…and not what they make per se. Process art will not have a “sample” to follow, will have limited (if any) instructions, there will be a variety of supplies available, and each child’s art piece will be unique.
It’s good to know what process art is, but defining what it isn’t is also important. First and foremost process art is not a “free-for-all”. Guidelines are always a necessity when working with children. Yes, we want them to try new things and experiment, but not at expense of ruining the experience for others or wasting resources. For example, it is OK to mix paint colors on your own paper, but not OK to mix paint colors in their containers; nor is it OK to paint the wall behind you.
Two other important things to keep in mind when doing process art with young children:
- We can limit which supplies are available for use If you just really can’t do paint, you don’t have to offer it.
- You can still have a general project idea in mind.
Use black construction paper and white & colored chalk to create a picture. Older children can trace a variety of items.
Fill Dixie cups with water (depending on storytime size—5-10 cups). Add a generous amount of food coloring to each cup; stir to combine. Place a craft stick in each cup. Freeze for several hours. Allow children to use the ice as paint brushes.
Clean out your craft supplies and ask the children to create a new creature—make sure to have googly eyes, yarn, feathers, construction paper, crayons, scissors, glue
Can you paint with that?
Bring out a variety of objects for kids to try to paint with…feathers, straws, comb, pipe cleaners, pine branch, toilet paper rolls, plastic eggs (opened)
You can use a clothespin for a “handle” for these kinds of objects: pom-poms, foil, yarn/several pieces of yarn
HINT: Use an empty cardboard egg carton as a paint pallet for several children to share.
Cut a length of contact paper for each child. Set out a variety of things to stick on it—tissue paper pieces, construction paper scraps/shapes, stickers, curling ribbon (not curled), yarn, feathers, foil pieces, anything else in your craft closet that is relatively flat. Cover with another length of contact paper to seal.
Painting with Cotton Balls
Clip cotton balls onto clothespin (so the clothespin makes a handle). Put paint on paper plates or use an empty cardboard egg carton as a paint pallet for several children to share. Allow children to put cotton ball into the paint then paint on their white construction paper. You may need to swap out cotton balls often so the paint doesn’t get too mixed up.
HINT: You can cut egg cartons into groups of four sections to use for paint
Mess Free Painting
Place piece of white cardstock in gallon size Ziploc; squirt in 2-3 drops of paint; seal bag and tape to reinforce; allow babies to smash paint around. When parents/caregiver get home they can remove the paper and let it dry.
Children rip of variety of colors/lengths of tape to create a collage on a piece of white card stock.
Be sure to cover the tables (table cloth included) and pull out your tarp for the floor! Don’t forget the extra package of baby wipes (included)!!
Book Ideas for Art Week
Edward Gets Messy / Meade
Mouse Paint / WalshWhite Rabbit's Color Book / Baker
Bear’s Picture / Pinkwater
I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean / Sherry
Patrick Paints a Picture / Pirotta
The Dot / Reynolds
Elephants Can Paint Too / Arnold