I love process art - that's art in which kids can explore their own ideas and experiment with art materials. Anytime I plan an art experience, I usually have a particular idea in mind. The idea may be more general, such as kids can make books or kids can stick tissue paper on contact plastic to make suncatchers. The idea may be more specific, such as kids could make family puppets or kids could create a rainbow. But whatever my idea, the option is always open for kids to explore their own ideas.
Often, kids will push aside my idea (literally or figuratively) and do whatever they choose. That's okay. That's the rule. You can make whatever you want...or you can just explore the materials to see what they will do (and make nothing particular). The kids' ideas always are superior to my own - and they often surprise me.
Here's what happened when we made rainbows. We had different colors of paper (in different shapes). We cut paper plates in half to suggest rainbow shapes. We put out all the materials with glue sticks for kids to explore.
Kids began to glue. I told them they could make a rainbow if they wanted. Some went to work right away, creating bands of color. We provided a reference for kids to see if they wanted to put them in rainbow order.
Some kids explored different kinds of paper or the juxtaposition of different colors.
Some covered their plates with paper shapes. Some put a few on the paper and were done.
Process art allows kids to decide when the activity is over. It encourage them to try new things and see what happens. It encourages exploration and art play.
Here are some of the results of their exploration.
In process art, the end result is secondary to the experience. But the results are often wonderful!