The girls and I recently found ourselves with an open day ahead of us. It rarely happens. There are almost always some errands to be run, activities to attend, folks coming over to play, pressing school work (or blog work) to complete, piles of laundry to put away, or an empty fridge to fill. But one day this week, as the girls came down for breakfast in the morning, there was absolutely nothing that we needed to do.
What better way to fill the day than with an art buffet? As the girls played for a few minutes, I got ready for the most fantastic process art extravaganza they had ever seen.
First, I cleared our kitchen table (which is actually a full sized dining room table, so it's big). I like to be able to relax during messy play, so I covered the table with a table cloth and 2 layers of old sheets that we use for messy activities. Finally I taped down craft paper from our big roll to cover the whole thing.
I headed to our art supply cabinets and grabbed just about everything. I put it all out in bowls and bags, with plenty of paint brushes, glue, and scissors. There were crayons, sponges, paper scraps, watercolor, beads, buttons, ink pads, finger paint, and more!
Finally I invited the girls to the table.
Man, oh, man, did they have a blast. It was so great to see what they came up with.
Both girls gravitated towards painting. One side benefit of this activity was that I was able to take a good look at our art supplies and see what we needed more of (paint!) and what the girls were no longer interested in.
They also spent a lot of time gluing little things on to the paper. All that glue squeezing is great for fine motor development!
We do our fair share of crafts around here, but I make sure to also give the girls plenty of time for free artistic expression. They have free access to most of our art supplies and spend a good part of most days snipping and gluing and coloring and creating. If you're not familiar with the benefits of process art, this article from Fun-A-Day! is a great overview.
Obviously if you were to set up this sort of process art activity for your children, your set-up would look very different from mine, depending on the supplies that you have.
One thing that really helped was to have some nice music on in the background. I've always found that music settles my girls in to work quietly and calmly. They stay focused for much longer.
The girls spent about two hours creating at the table in the morning. Then we washed out brushes and tidied up the table a bit and took a break for lunch and quiet time. They came back for about another hour of process art time in the afternoon
Clean up was surprisingly quick with everyone helping. Since we couldn't save the whole masterpiece, I let Lena and Maggie each choose several of their favorite sections that we cut out and saved.
Other Great Process Art Ideas:
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