The ubiquitous handprint Thanksgiving turkeys are the first flurries of the blizzard. This time of year, the internet is suddenly knee deep in holiday baby and toddler crafts. We make prints of babies' hands, feet, and bums (yes, really) to turn into wall art for the grandparents. Toddlers are handed precut, pre-glued paper shapes and told exactly how to place the carrot nose on the snowman. Preschoolers might be allowed to paint an ornament, in suitably Christmassy colors, of course.
Here's my Grinchy question - who actually made these projects and why? When we talk about process vs. product in children's art, we need to think critically about our motivations in providing the activity. Product-based crafts are all about the end result. We're making a snowman. We're making a handprint canvas for Grandma. But in process-based, child-led art, we're thinking about the experience of creating. Children are given open-ended, quality art supplies and allowed to do whatever they want with them. The baby will probably eat them. The toddler will mix all the paint together and then paint themselves with the resulting muddy brown. The preschooler will only draw pictures of Moana. It's all creative, and it's all okay!
Stay tuned for a post on creating process-based, giftable art with children of all ages!