In preschool, we adore process art. Recently, we took advantage of all the wonderful things shared art offers.My preschoolers love process art because it is always so much fun and I adore it for all the wonderful things it teaches them. It overflows with fine and gross motor skill development, not to mention sensory exploration and risk-taking as my students make choices about how they create in addition to what they create. Recently I wondered how my students would respond if I offered to them a shared art opportunity. It was also process based art, but all six students would be working on the exact same piece of paper. As usual, my preschoolers surprised me.
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I began by taping down a sheet of white easel paper down the entire length of our preschool table. I actually love Scotch Banner Paper best because it is a little thicker than regular easel paper, and it is much wider at 30 inches rather than only twelve or eighteen. I used some washable liquid tempera paint and squirted long lines of each color of the rainbow down the length of the table. Then, I invited the preschool children to paint.
At first, they asked where the paint brushed were. I replied that I couldn’t find them, (which may or may not have been a white lie), but invited them to paint anyway.
And this is what happened…
How fun it this!? They just jumped in with their hands and began moving that paint around. One student commented on how the paint was cold, another on how the paint felt slimy.
They quickly discovered how to push the paint to make designs in the color.
And soon the paint was all mixed together moving from a reddish-purply-grey to a yellow-greenish brown.
Just as quickly they saw an opportunity to make hand prints.
And observed and talked about the feeling of paint squishing between their fingers.
And when the paint was mixed even more, leaving about a rather unappealing grey brown color (which they gave many more interesting names to), they discovered how to use the wet paint at a slate for writing.
That was my favorite part of this activity. Watching the preschoolers push the paint around to write and tell stories. Some students tried writing their names, some drew flowers and Hello Kitty, and some swirled the paint to uncover the color beneath. I will never forget the awe and amazement in their voices as they explored in this way.
My original intention for this shared art activity was to invite all the children to paint, but I had expected them, for some odd reason, to stop painting before it became blended into only one color. I was going to allow it to dry and then cut strips of the paper for the children to take home. Instead, our shared art activity a poster example of process art. The preschoolers worked with the paint for so long that the paper wore out and tore and got holes in it…which did not stop my preschoolers from continuing their exploration of paint directly on the preschool table!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
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