Have you ever heard (or maybe said) “a child could make that!” about an abstract work of art? Well, today is the day for seeing if that’s true. Maybe it’s too soon to know if your child is the next Lee Krasner, but they can indeed create art. Kids can make images that are expressive, colorful and full of movement — just like the artists you see in galleries and museums — with process art.
Abstract art is great because success isn’t about perfectly reflecting what already exists in the world. With abstract art, artists can express an idea or a feeling. Often, the art we see on the wall results from a learning experience or process. And that process is something you can recreate with your child!
With process art, children can explore texture, tools and color in ways that focus on reflection during creation. And they do that instead of focusing on a Pinterest-perfect product. Process art also helps learners make plans, explore techniques and see cause and effect. What’s more, they do all that while making intriguing art pieces!
Examples of process art activities you can do at home:
You can activate the great outdoors for process-focused art experiences. Here are a few suggestions:
- Explore texture! Use peeled crayons and paper to create a variety of texture rubbings. You can use tree trunks, the sidewalk or tree leaves and flowers. Just pop a piece of paper on top and lightly rub crayons over the surface. Work with your child to find other surfaces to create textured art.
- Introduce new materials, like sandpaper and wood blocks. Draw with crayons on different grades of sandpaper. Describe the differences in the texture and look of the art. Then, use the colored sandpaper to sand a block of wood. “How did the picture change on the sandpaper after you sanded the board?”
- Invite your tiny artist create chalk art on a sidewalk. Next, give them spray bottles to add water to their drawings. Help them think about cause and effect by asking: “How did the picture change?” or “Why did the picture change?”
Talk about art!
Process art is about your child’s experiences making art. If creative time has a nice end product, that’s great. (And we recommend hanging art up no matter what!) But the chats you have before, during and after art-making are where the magic happens.
Talking to your little artist about their art helps them reflect on what they did. It also gives you a chance to build their word skills. Ask them to describe their process to you: “Tell me about the color you chose for your painting.” “What did you use to make your drawing?” “Where do you want me to put your drawing, so that more people can see it?”
Celebrate what your child makes, even if it’s sometimes hard to make out (“Does this dog have wings?”), and set aside some wall space for a growing gallery of work!
Art learning boosts skills they will use in school and life!
Process art has many benefits! Here are some ways creativity helps your child succeed in school and life:
- Critical thinking skills: Watch them as they discover many ways to use the materials you share with them. A crayon can make thin little lines and thick big ones too!
- Problem solving skills: Staying engaged with a project and figuring out how to reach a goal is a skill needed for school success.
- Communication skills: Making art gives young artists a chance to share their ideas. Knowing how to talk about the thoughts in their minds helps them in school and life.
Build Your Child’s Brighter Future!
Want to dive deeper into the creativity your little one? Check out our Play and Learning guidance about Creative Arts for:
- Babies — She might get excited when you hand her a crayon. And she might recoil at the feel of paint on her fingers. No matter the medium, she’s ready to try out her artistic skills.
- One-Year-Olds — Does he have a favorite picture book? One he requests again and again? Does he have another he’d prefer to throw across the room? No worries.
- Two-Year-Olds — He’s proud of the art he makes, and he’s eager to explore it all — finger paints, crayons, glue, glitter…
- Three-Year-Olds — He has better stories to tell about his pictures—not just “this is Mommy, this is me,” but details about the background, what everyone’s doing, and who the picture is for.
- Pre-K-Learners — Now that he can stick with a drawing or model a little longer, your child’s visual art is becoming more complex.