In this blog we discuss how to provide creative art activities for children that benefit their learning and development and the importance of having a designated art center.
Product-Focused or Process-Focused?
Art activities can be product-focused or process-focused.
When you think of art activities for young children, do you think of coloring books with printed images? Or projects where children attempt to copy a sample created by an adult? Often in these situations, an adult instructs children in creating a desired outcome or product. These types of activities are product-focused. They do not encourage children’s creativity or exploration.
On the other hand, process-focused activities are those that do encourage children’s creativity. Process-focused activities are unstructured. There is no predetermined way to engage with the materials, and children can experiment.
Process-focused art activities encourage children’s creativity instead of putting pressure on them to follow specific steps and instructions. Each child’s final product is unique. An art activity is creative when it allows children to make choices for themselves and control the process as much as possible.
Creative art activities are a wonderful way for children to channel their natural curiosity and motivation to explore their world and discover how things work. Freely manipulating and experimenting with different art materials makes learning fun and addresses multiple areas of development.
Creative Art Activities for Children
Finger painting is a fun, open-ended activity appropriate for children at any stage of development. All you need is space, time, a substance to paint with, and a comfortable chair.
Let children discover for themselves what they can do at their own pace. Avoid giving advice. There is no right or wrong way to finger paint. Children love to mix colors, make patterns, and have the freedom to create whatever they want.
Every child is successful when they finger paint!
Three-dimensional projects are a great way for children to practice fine motor skills while having fun. Provide boxes in a variety of sizes and shapes. Children often enjoy stacking them up to create statues. When they decide on a shape, they can tape the boxes together. Provide support at this stage as needed.
The children can use their imagination to decorate their statues with markers, paint, glue, felt, paper scraps, pipe cleaners, etc. Children may enjoy incorporating the statues into their pretend play. As a small-group activity, this can help children learn about cooperation and working as a team.
Open-ended collage projects provide opportunities for children to experience different textures and sensations. As far as materials for collage activities, the options are limitless!
Allow children over three to cut or tear materials into small pieces. This presents an excellent opportunity for developing fine motor skills. (Keep small pieces away from infants and toddlers since these can present choking hazards.)
The children can layer materials and colors, or paint on top of their collages to create a variety of textures and visual effects.
Have fun experimenting with the children in your care!
More Creative Activities for Young Children
The Early Childhood Environment: Learning Centers
Care Courses’ 10-clock-hour course, The Early Childhood Environment: Learning Centers, offers many creative art activity ideas, and suggestions for tailoring your art center to suit children’s needs and interests. Take this course to learn about fun and functional learning centers dedicated to literacy, music, block play, pretend play, and more!
Care Courses Support
Please contact us and let us know how we can be of additional assistance! Call us: 1–800-685‑7610, Monday through Friday, 9–5 ET, or email us days, evenings, and weekends: info@CareCourses.com. We’re here to help!