create (with kids): Product Optional

By freshlyplanted - 8:03 PM

One of the things that's stretched me, in the best of ways, as a creative Mama is embracing process over product. In the classroom process was my favorite part, but it was essential that it was product-informed process. (At least most of the time.) Now I'm learning that Billy's not only okay with not having a product, he sometimes even prefers it that way. He's known to draw all over a piece of paper, crumble it up, rip it into shreds, chew on a few pieces for good measure, and call it a day. Never having experienced art with toddlers pre-parenting, this was a bit bewildering at first- and still is at times. But all of us are learning together.

Product Optional
One of our latest invitations to create included paper towels, markers, and water. Knowing there definitely wouldn't be a product after, I made sure to keep my camera handy to capture the artful moments! At first the kiddos- Billy, Isia & a little friend- drew on their paper towels, which were taped to the table. Then I introduced water and paintbrushes.

Product Optional
I offered them a variety of brushes, including these Melissa & Doug Jumbo Paint Brushes that we've had since Isia was a baby. She loved them, and they're still a favorite for all the little hands around here.

Product Optional
Product Optional
And then the painting began! Isia painted hers really quickly before moving onto her next activity. But the toddlers were slower, more studious... and used lots more water. Actually they weren't quite satisfied...

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...until their masterpieces lay in beautiful ruins. Billy was the last one to stop working on his. He ripped it a few more times for good measure before he declared it "all done" and got down from the table to knock over some towers.

I've been realizing that experiments in process are not only a great exercise for them, but something I could benefit from too. How often do I just play around with paint? Or sew fabric scraps together just to see what happens? Limited by time, my creations are usually pre-designed in my head before I even sit down to begin working on them. And while there is a place for that- otherwise nothing would ever get finished- it's also important to embrace the process, the play that goes along with creating. Yes, we keep learning together- it's a lot more fun that way! 

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