Process Verses Product Art

There is a growing movement in the art world that is directed toward our little ones.  It focuses on the different forms of art that we are teaching our children, both at home and at school.  We are all used to the cute and cliche hand print turkeys and colored in pictures our children produce.  I’m sure we even have some hanging on our walls (I know I do).  This form of artwork our children are creating is called product art.  Project instructions are taught and are focused on a cute product that everyone can ooooh and ahhhh over when it is finished.  Children follow the directions, cut on the line, color in the blanks, glue on the eyes and poof, a perfect piece of artwork.  These projects are usually fun, fast and help our children to focus in and teach them fine motor skills.

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Process Art on the other hand, focuses on the action of doing and creating; giving our children some supplies and saying: ‘have at it!’  The outcome is usually something we would consider garbage but it completely comes from our children’s minds and imaginations.  Since our children are just learning what these art supplies and tools are, process art gives them a chance to explore these mediums and create at their own pace.  An article focusing on progressive art  praises the benefits of giving our children the opportunity to create in this way.    “Kids at this developmental stage benefit from messing around with paints, or clay, or crayons…” says Dahl

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It is externally difficult to judge art and the different forms there of.  I see the pride in my daughter when she creates the perfect puppy out of cut out shapes and goggly eyes.  I also see the ecstatic joy and inspiration when she ‘finds’ the perfect art supply in our trash and MUST begin a project right away.  I love to introduce her to new types of art supplies for her to explore but I also love when she creates something cute enough to give to our family members.  I personally feel that there is a time and a place for both forms of art in our children’s lives.  In the span of a lesson at school an art project usually links into what they have been studying.  Therefore the focus should be on the thematic product not the process, unless the lesson IS art where the whole class time can be dedicated to the process of learning and creating.  I know my children are far more experienced having both forms of art incorporated into their life.  I hope that you share various forms of art with your children as well!    

Written By Nicole Rowley

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