Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Unexpected Art Process of a Little Scribbler

I set up the invitation. The crayons are laid out. The paper is blank and beautiful, waiting for the "creator" to come along and add beauty. Everything is taped down--frustration free. Clean-up supplies are close at hand. All this, and my own Little Scribbler comes along and sits at the foot of the art space I created, peeling crayons into a pile...for something like 20 minutes! I should've known: Little Scribblers enjoy destruction just as much as they love construction, right? 

My Facebook friends had some great captions for this: "That's my girl! Free thinker, sees things without restriction, who needs a label?" and "High concept art. It represents her desire to shed societal expectations and embrace change." :) And one said simply, "Thank you for allowing her creative expression." It's amazing sometimes: the difference between what we expect will happen during art time and what actually does happen.

Little Scribblers’ art is many times more about the process and learning to manipulate new art mediums than about the final product. You will find that to be a common thread in blogs about art at this stage of development: process over product. Encourage the process even if it includes exploration and end results you didn’t intend—piles of stickers all in one place on the paper; pulling the legs off of the animal you just created together (how were they to know it was an animal leg...looked like something to grab and yank); papers crumpled or colored all the way through with a marker; stamping that started on the paper, went on to the table, and eventually onto the legs; or maybe just 15 minutes of putting crayons in a cup and taking them out again (as my Little Scribbler did at our first paid toddler art class).

So what's so great about the process? We learn through observation (with all of our senses), predicting what will happen, and having that prediction come true, or not...either way it's a discovery. There are so many opportunities during the art process to see cause and effect, come across a problem and find a way to solve it, discover something new, and generally practice the fine and gross motor skills needed for the future. I'm absolutely positive those are not the only benefits. One mother in my test group has been doing art right alongside her almost-two-year-old. Not only do they get to enjoy this time together, but a busy working mama has discovered a new way to de-stress for herself.

The list above is full of actual happenings for myself or mothers working with Little Scribblers in my test group of 12-24 month toddlers. Little Scribblers are not just toddlers, though. Preschoolers are still developing their fine motor skills, as are children with special needs. What kinds of expectations have you had with your own Little Scribblers and what were the actual results of art time?
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