Process vs. Product

So often as adults we are afraid to try art projects. We worry that the outcome will not look like the vision in our heads. We look at what the "masters" are capable of and realize that our best is a fraction of their worst.

This often deters parents from doing projects with their children. They are afraid of creating something that is "sub par". Guess what?? Kids don't care!

When children do art, or for the most part anything, it isn't the end product that makes them happy it is the process of doing. Don't believe me? Hand children a car and some paint and let them paint with the car. They will LOVE it. Will it look like anything... nope! It just looks like lines on a paper, but I bet your child will have a blast doing it.

When children think of art project they think about the process of doing the art. When I was a kindergarten teacher I almost NEVER showed the children a sample art project. Why you ask. Because, when you show a sample many children feel that they HAVE to make it exactly the way you made it, colors and all. Where as if you do not show a sample they will enjoy the process and make the project their own.

I do often do project where the shapes are already cut out (or in school where they children had to copy and cut from a template). But other than that the rest is on their own. I recently made suns with my sons. I gave them a circle, orange and yellow rays and glue. They could make it however they wanted. Blake's sun had 6 orange rays and 2 yellow ones going around the sun. He then drew a face on his. Colby had 3 orange and 3 yellow going every which way. He too drew his interpretation of a face. Did they look the same...nope! Now if I'd made a sample sun both boys would probably have had a pattern of yellow and orange rays going around the circle with a sun face. They would not have had fun trying to decide how they wanted their suns to look.

Next time you do a project with your children, make it open ended. Put out the supplies and see what happens. Even if you give a suggestion of what they could make, don't tell them how to make it. You might just be surprised at the results!

Oh and don't forget to sit down with them from time to time and just have fun yourself. It doesn't matter what the product is, just enjoy the process.


  1. I never worry about the end product...just the mess it's going to leave ;) Great ideas here Lori. I love giving the boys freedom to create what they want.

  2. My favorite was always playing with shaving cream. They "create" awesome shapes and the house smells great too!


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