I recently kicked off a monthly process art program for ages 3-7 at my branch and wanted to share our projects and success stories. With the recent cold snap here in Florida, it felt like the perfect time to do a chilly, winter theme!
For Starters: Since this was our first session, I spent a little bit of time chatting with the families about what “process art” is and our goals for this program:
- Process art is focused on the act of exploring creatively, and not on the final outcome. We want to encourage the kids to have fun, try new things, and not compare themselves with others.
- It helps the kids find their own artistic voice. This program is about celebrating their individuality by giving them the freedom to be.
- They’re Learning! Process art offers an opportunity for children to strengthen their fine motor skills, learn about different aspects of art, and is a perfect segue for exploring other subjects.
What We Read: I really wanted to stress that it’s ok to just do your own thing, so I chose Chilly Milly Moo. The Story focuses on Milly, a winter-loving cow who is having a hard time making milk like her barn mates. Spoiler Alert: She isn’t a milk making cow, she’s an ice cream cow! I love this story, because it really highlights that there is value in individuality. Milly discovered her own hidden talent and settled into being herself. Kids should too!
What We Did: I was inspired by a fellow librarian and blogger, Amy Koester (The Show Me Librarian), who can be found here. Her ice cream process art seemed like the perfect fit for our first session. It was also the golden opportunity to test out making puff paint with the littles! They were given the task of making a “melted mess” or anything else they felt was cool (see that play on words there ;). Be like Milly, find your moo and do you! We mixed our puff paint together and the kids were turned loose to create.
|Puff Paint Recipe||Supplies|
|Mix in a paper bowl till combined:
How It Went: The kids had a blast and the grownups did too! The program lasted 45 minutes, and they were enjoying themselves the entire time. I had fifteen in attendance, which is lighter than my typical Saturday crowds (usually 40-60) but it was perfect for our first run.
Check out this fantastic “melted mess”!
And super cute “ice cream train”!
Final Tips and Tricks:
- Give Guidance. I know that some might be hesitant to just throw out the art supplies and see what happens, but I promise you kids will work cleanly if you give solid ground rules. I made sure to explain that part of being an artist is working within your space and knowing your tools. Tips such as “paint on paper, not the floor, but do experiment with painting with the brush, stick, puffs” or “Scissors work better on dry / glue free paper” go a long way towards maintaining your tools and avoiding a glue fiasco on the carpet.
- Pick your battles. Somethings might be better left in the hands of adults. For example, my giant jug of glue, shaving cream, and the food coloring. I poured the glue into each paper mixing bowl, and the caregivers squirted the shaving cream and the single drop of food coloring since it can go everywhere and stain.
- Get a little help from your Bigs. Since there was a wide age range (I had a few younger siblings tag along) caregivers put the little ones in their laps and worked with them to maintain (some) cleanliness. I really liked that one little wanted to paint a Mickey Mouse ice cream and asked the dad to draw mouse ears for him to fill in. The kid set the terms and the parent supported the child’s creative direction.
- Teens. I have teen volunteers help with all of my youth programs. It breaks up their volunteering (no one wants to shelve forever), and the kids LOVE having a super cool teen to work beside. It allows the teens to have an opportunity to be a positive role model, and for kids to have a future goal of being “one of Mrs. Silence’s Teens” when they are older. It also cuts my prep and clean up time WAY down.
I really loved this program, and I’m jazzed to do more in the future! Please share your own success stories, questions or comments below, and as always, thank you for reading!
Owls & Vowels