While I am not much of a crafter, I do love process art. We do lots of projects as a family so I thought I would create a round up of our favourite process art activities for kids.
What is Process Art?
Process art is the creation of art where the process used to create it is part of the end result. Sometimes called open ended art, process art has no fixed out outcome. I love it because there is no pressure to achieve something particular and quite often what the kids create is better than what I create.
Process art is often messy, but if you don’t like mess then just wait until the weather is good because most of them can be done outside.
What are the Benefits of Process Art Activities for kids?
Process art is great for children because it allows them to express their creativity. Without the pressure to create a specific result they are free to explore the colours and materials any way they want. Children who aren’t that good at traditional drawing and painting can have the satisfaction of creating something truly beautiful. Process art also levels everyone’s abilities, the oldest child (or even the adult) won’t necessarily create the best work.
Process art is a great family activity. Even really young children can get involved in some of the activities and it really is as much fun for the adults as the children.
Process Art Activities for Toddlers
These activities are ones that even toddlers can get involved with, but don’t assume that older children won’t enjoy them too.
Squeegee painting is a really simple process art for toddlers to get started with. We discovered that it’s a case of “more is more’ with this one which tends to suit toddlers well. It’s no messy that any other time you let a toddler loose with paint and using the squeegees to scrape the paint is great for fine motor skills. Check out our guide to squeegee painting to find out more.
Painting with Bubbles
This one really is messy and if you’re doing it with toddlers or preschoolers I’d definitely try and do it outside, the bubbles go everywhere! This is a simple activity to set up and you may well have everything you need in the house already, just make sure everyone is wearing old clothes before you gets started. You can read our post about bubble painting to find out how to do it.
Bleeding Tissue Paper Art
While the mess from this one is fairly contained, wet tissue paper will stain anything it touches so old clothes and a table cover are a must. Toddlers will love tearing up the tissue paper for this activity and you can cut your results into shapes when they have finished. Have a look at our post about Bleeding Tissue Paper Art.
Process Art Activities for Preschooler
Preschoolers are slightly better at following instructions than toddlers and that opens up the type of activities they can get involved with. Again, older children will also be able to enjoy these activities.
Marbling with Shaving Foam
I absolutely love the results of this because they are so pretty. When we did it, it turned into a messy play session at the end when the kids got their hands into the shaving foam. You can see how we did it in our post on Marbling Card with Shaving Foam.
Decorating Coasters with Sharpies and Rubbing Alcohol
Children will need to be carefully superseded with the buying alcohol (and the sharpies) but it’s worth it for the results they can achieve. I particularly like that with this activity, if you don’t like what you’ve created, you can wipe it clean and start again. They also make great gifts. Have a look at our experience of creating Sharpie Tile Coasters.
Unlike the squeegee painting above, these really are a case of “Less is More” so children need to be reminded to just use a few drops of colour but once its in they can swirl away to their heart’s content. This is another activity where you may well have everything you need in the house already, check out the list in this post: Making Sun Catcher by painting on wet glue.
Process Art Activities with Older children
Once children can be trusted to be careful with hot things, the range of activities they can enjoy opens up even further.
Decorating Rocks with Melted Crayons
This activity is so satisfying, when we did it we just kept going and putting more rocks in the oven because we didn’t want to stop! As soon as the crayon touches the hot rock it starts to melt and you can create beautiful patterns and blends. You do need to be careful when you put rocks in the oven though, check out the post Decorating rocks with melted crayon to do it safely.
Making cards with Melted Crayon
Are you seeing a theme here? I really am rather fond of melting crayons (Check out the seasonal posts below for even more!) We made these cards for Easter but you could make them for any occasion. If you aren’t quite comfortable with letting your child lose with an iron yet you can always do that stage for them. Have a look at Making Cards with Melted crayon for full instructions.
Alcohol Ink Coasters
While younger children could probably do this activity, I’ve included it for the older children because alcohol ink is a bit more expensive that the other materials we’ve used and so you may prefer not to have younger children waste it. Like the sharpie coasters above, these make great gifts and the alcohol ink creates more vibrant colours than the sharpies. Fill instructions are in our post How to Make Alcohol Ink Coasters.
Seasonal Process Art Activities for Kids
Every year the kids and I use a process art method to create tree decorations that we use a gifts for teachers and also family. This year we also have a go at dying eggs for Easter so I’ve included that here too.
Creating Ornaments from Melted Crayons
Got loads of broken crayons laying around? Why not turn them into something pretty. These are tree decorations are super easy to make and you can also use the same method to method the create crayons for the kids to give as gists to friends or to include in party bags. Full instructions are in this post: Melted Crayon Tree Decorations
Melted Crayon Glass Ornaments
These are best done with older children because they get quite hot and are easily broken. They are my favourite of all of the decorations we’ve made. Check out the post Melted Crayon Glass Ornaments for instructions.
Alcohol Ink Baubles
We made these using the same alcohol inks we used for the coasters described above but used a different method of applying the ink. You can do these with plastic baubles so they are less likely to break, full instructions are here: Alcohol Ink Baubles.
Melted Bead Decorations
Melting something other than crayons for a change, these are made by melting Hamma beads in the oven and the results are really effective. You can see how we did it in the post Melted Bead Decorations.
So those are our family’s favourite process art activities. While I love them all, I have to admit that my favourites are definitely the ones that involve melting, the combination or art and science is great!
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