Why process art is important for kids 36

Sometimes it is really easy for us to fix a finished idea in our head when crafting and creating with our kids, especially in this Pinterest age.  I can be be guilty of this too and it was one of the reasons that I stopped doing tutorials when the boys were younger as their idea of the finished product was often not the same as mine.

Why process art is important for kids

Even now and my boys are nine and eight this month I feel that it is important to just allow them to create sometimes and to let them go with the flow.

So when we were sent our craft kit for the Tots100 Bostik Craft Club (You can buy similar kits to this from online suppliers such as Craft Merrily and Yellow Moon, I decided to just pop it all out on the table and let the boys create with no expectations of outcome at all.

This project was all about the focus being on the process not the outcome.  I wanted to encourage the boys to create, develop and explore their own creative ideas.  I wanted their artwork to be a reflection of their interpretation and ideas.

I think that at eight and nine it is just as important to not always have a preconceived notion about what the end result ‘should’ look like and to learn to just enjoy the making and creating.

What is process art?


Art activities tend to be process oriented  rather than product oriented like crafts.  It engages feelings and imaginations and uses basic supplies and often open ended instructions.

It is  all about the  journey, not the destination.  The end product is not the principal focus of the activity. There really is not right or wrong way to produce the artwork.  Perfect for children of all ages.

Why process art is important


Children learn through play and open-ended activities. It allows them the chance to explore the world around them, ask questions, and see how things work. Process art fits in with how children learn because it allows them room to be themselves, make their own decisions engage their imagination and feelings and just create!

Children enjoy both the product and the process of art, but process allows children to experience the joy of creativity without the focus on the end product.

Children who experience process art are engaging in a learning process and it encourages the following skills:

  1. Thinking skills (cognitive behaviours)
  2. Cause and effect
  3. Observation skills
  4. Self expression
  5. Coordination
  6. Spatial thinking
  7. Expressing feelings
  8. Social interaction in a noncompetitive environment
  9. Decision making
  10. Problem solving
  11. The ability to experiment
  12. Communication

Why process art is important for kids collage

I have lots of posts about process art and simple arts and crafts for families on this pinterest board including this fab post on the benefits of arts and crafts for kids, this post from Twodaloo on process art in early childhood  and fun a day’s post on process art.

Follow Jen Walshaw’s board Simple drawing and art for Families and Kids on Pinterest.


36 thoughts on “Why process art is important for kids

  • Mummy Glitzer

    I need to remember this more often; I am rubbish at just letting Harry do what he wants and am a stickler for following instructions or a plan in my head.

  • Mummy of Two

    I’ve given up trying to get my son to make anything that looks like it should! He loves just creating things as he goes along so I just leave him to it. If I want something that looks good I make something myself!

  • Kate Thompson

    Totally agree. There is FAR too much emphasis today on buying “kits” and branded character craft packs. Forget it – same with Lego, you want a general kit, not something to make a complete toy – which will fall apart anyway. Excellent post, am sharing!

  • San

    So simple and obvious and yet it never crossed my mind. I guess sometimes we are so engrossed in having our kids learn to make things and we forget to just let them create things.

  • Globalmouse

    What a great post – it’s so important to remember that and I am definitely guilty of trying to get the end product to look how I think it should, rather than letting them just create. (Can I also just say that I love your scissors!!!)

  • Louisa

    I’m pinning this to remind myself to stop hovering over the kids when they craft and to just let them get on with what they want to do rather than what I expect them to do. Excellent post.

  • Kath Bee

    When my kids were small I took them to 2 craft groups (as an excuse to get out of the house, I could have done the craft at home). The first we went to was very much about the finished product – so all the mums sat around doing the craft whilst the kids did something else! The second group was much more about just having fun with the materials. Guess which one they enjoyed more! I did once have to display something that looked like a glitter covered dog poo, but at least they made it completely on their own.

  • Ali

    Art in what ever form is great for children and adults in all the ways you mention. I think it is so relaxing for them and us but only you say when we let it just happen.

    I know I have been guilty of hovering over them when they were little, tweaking and moving bits about but most of the time I just let them get on with it! Baking and cooking wise though I need to follow suit on my art parenting style just remembering when we made meatballs together the other week and I needed re-shaped them all. Obviously this was for equal cooking time reasons I am sure!!! 🙂

  • Michelle

    A great idea – just to let their imaginations run wild and see what they can create. I’ve got my box of stuff and waiting to be inspired…maybe I’ll go into it like you with no expectation of outcome whatsoever!

  • suzanne3childrenandit

    When my children were younger, I think I was a bit like you: pretty keen for them to get the finished article right! But who says what is ‘right’ in the world of art? Sounds like common sense to me and so much more fun (assuming there’s no glitter involved!)

  • Kirsty

    I absolutely love this post. All too often children are not allowed to just be creative. It is so important to value the process of making and to celebrate the skills involved in decision-making, choosing materials and using the imagination.

  • LearnerMother

    I need to bookmark this and read it every time I sit down to do or make something with my kids – I’m terrible at neglecting the process for the end product!

  • Laura

    I am definitely guilty of focusing too much on the end product sometimes and your post is a real reminder of how important it can be to just let them get on with it. I must try harder at that!

  • Kara

    I have not heard of process art before but it does make sense. Must try and stop “helping” mine and just let them get on with it

  • Shell Louise

    I used to be rubbish at letting the kids enjoy the process, I was always trying to get them to do it the ‘right’ way. It wasn’t until I watched my mum doing crafts with them, or more to the point, for them, because she couldn’t let them do it their way, that I realised I did the same. I was always focused on the end product. Now I set the stuff out and let them get on with it 🙂

  • Helen @ Witty Hoots

    We love experimenting with different materials and I quite often just step back and let my daughter just create something from her own imagination. It can be quite difficult to be totally hands off so I usually do something creative as well whilst she is playing/creating.

  • Theresa (Capri + 3)

    You have a wonderful variety of art supplies that would get anyone’s creative juices flowing. It looks like a lot of fun with no pressure on the final product. Thank you for sharing on Artsy Play Wednesday. We hope you will continue to share your creative ideas each week.

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