Now that winter is upon us, the days are short and the nights are long. So, let’s make some beautiful, sparkly winter process art for preschoolers. In this winter art, we used some special (but common) materials that loaded these preschool winter paintings with tons of fine motor work too.
If you’re like me and always looking for creative process art ideas for preschoolers, then you’ve come to the right place!
Easy Winter Process Art for Preschoolers
Probably my all time favorite thing to include in my winter preschool lesson plans are process art projects.
Ok, not probably.
I really, really love including process art into any preschool theme. In fact, I have process art for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and lots for “just because” days.
But winter process art is something special.
It’s cool, icy colors are rigid and tell a story that’s both harsh and distinctive while also being soft and vulnerable. I mean, what other time of year do you create art that is so temperamental as something like ice and snow, or wind and night.
And all of this, when put into a winter painting, even if done by a preschooler, looks remarkably real and intriguing. I love winter colors and all the art projects in preschool that come with it.
Just wait and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
But these wintery paintings turned into lovely fine motor work, too, which you know I love because it’s the easiest way to develop those skills needed for a mature pencil grasp. And that also added a little sparkle, which you know I love, but we didn’t use glitter or Epsom salt like in our Sparkly Winter Paintings.
FAQ About Teaching Process Art in Preschool
By definition, process art emphasizes the act and process of making art over the product produced. It is open-ended, self-motivated and based on experience and experimenting. Characteristics of process art include:
> no specified outcome
> no step-by-step directions
> no sample for children to follow
> work is entirely of the children’s own choice, both in product and whether or not to participate
True process art is simply allowing children a range of materials to use and allowing them to create at their own cares and whims. Ideas for inspiration can be posted, however process art is not about the outcome, but rather the intent of the creator.
Here are some fun process art ideas to get you started:
> paint and an atypical “paintbrush” like a comb or using string
> oil and water paintings
> magazine collages
> glue resist paintings
> cellophane collages on sticky tagboard
Check out all my process art ideas for toddlers and preschoolers here.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) touts Process Art as highly developmentally appropriate for the preschool classroom. Some benefit of process art includes:
> nurturing social and emotional health
> reinforcing skills like focus, relaxation, and emotional sharing
> inspiring creativity and problem solving
> builds cognitive skills like comparison, planning, and problem solving
> encourages vocabulary development and verbal expression of language
Fun Winter Art for Developing Fine Motor Skills
There is so much I loved about creating these paintings with my preschoolers. Although, my toddlers also made these same paintings. That’s right, this is winter process art for toddlers, too!
- heavy cardstock in blue or black
- contrasting blue paint
- white paint
- corks (like from wine)
- liquid school glue
- sparkling snow
- small paper plates (or other paint pallets)
How to Set Up for This Winter Art for Preschoolers
Like any process art, these can get a bit messy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. These are winter paintings with snow. As in fake, sparkling snow, and with the use of paint, well, you know where this could go.
Just prepare yourself mentally for the mess. It really isn’t so bad. Plus, take extra precautions by giving your preschoolers trays to work from. I prefer these food trays because they are really inexpensive and they wash up easily. Depending on the art project, I just throw them in the dishwasher instead of washing them by hand.
Place a piece of cardstock on a tray for your preschooler. Squeeze a dollop of white paint and blue paint on a paper plate and offer your preschooler a wine cork (or craft cork).
Now, invite your preschooler to join you in making some snowballs on the paper.
How to Make This Snowball Winter Preschool Art
When I demonstrated this to my preschoolers, I just worked on my own artwork as I talked out loud about what I was doing.
“See? I have a lot of paint on my cork. That’s going to make a really white snowball when I stamp it. Do you think so?…But now I have some blue paint on my cork and the colors are mixed…Ooh! I like how they swirl together! You can choose to use white, or blue, or both. And you can choose to mix the colors or leave them.”
My purpose in demonstrating was not to tell my preschoolers how to make the snowballs but to show them how to use the materials and what different things could happen.
And like always, even though all the preschoolers were using the exact same technique, their wintery art paintings all turned out so differently. And this was just the first step!
I liked using the corks to make the snowballs because since they are small, they force the use of a modified pincer grasp, which is a step in developing a mature pencil grasp. If you work in a center where a cork would be a choking hazard for toddlers, you can try using empty water bottles to make the same snowball effect.
Some of my preschoolers were very deliberate in how to stamped their snowballs. They didn’t want them to overlap.
They were fascinated by the swirling colors. When the colors get mixed and then the corks get twisted as they are lifted from the paper, they create the most beautiful swirling effect, which is very winter-like, don’t you think? They remind me of the swirls made on the sidewalk when we have snow flurries.
Some of my toddlers were less deliberate about the placement of their snowballs and overlapped them or created a big snowy blob. My own toddler loved the muffled pounding sound the cork made as he stamped. Pretty soon, all the toddlers were pounding in unison, it seemed.
It was winter process art turned winter musical art! Gott’a love the multiple sensory art!
We allowed out snowballs artwork to dry overnight and then returned to them the next preschool day.
Already the preschoolers loved their art. The white and blue paint had swirled some creating a pretty marbling effect in the snowballs. But I wanted to encourage them to take it one step further. Sometimes even process art can happen in multiple steps, and the waiting and thinking and then coming back to the art is good for preschoolers.
We added a bunch of liquid school glue (working that hand and finger strength in those small muscles) and then sprinkled our paintings with Sparkling Snow. The kind used in those pretty Miniature Winter Train Village Sets. It sparkles like glitter and is chunky like real snow.
I did challenge some of my older preschoolers to squeeze the glue around the snowballs. This worked their hand eye coordination and control, but not all my preschoolers chose that approach, which is ok, too.
Look at the concentration the above student has as he squeezes the glue bottle and tries to navigate the threads of glue in and around the snowballs. He just turned three two months ago.
This process is very is also used in the following winter art activities:
The preschoolers worked that pincer grasp again when they sprinkled the snow onto their paintings. We ended up running out of sparkly snow in my older class so we had to substitute it with course, iridescent glitter, but the effect was not quite the same.
Before handing over the materials, I did ask my classes how they planned on using the glue. Where would they put it? (On the snowball or around the snowballs?) What would happen if they put it on the snowballs? (The colors would get covered up).
Again, I demonstrated on my own painting, but not with the intent to show the preschoolers how to make their own winter painting but to show them how to properly use the materials.
Now, what about all this purple, you ask? Well, that was a surprising effect we were not expecting at all! The school glue reacted with the dye in the dark blue cardstock, turning it purple, which I thought added a beautiful effect to our winter process art paintings. And talk about process here!
The turquoise and black cardstock did not have the same effect. And you won’t get this effect using construction paper, either.
The results were stunning! At least, I think so. But don’t you see why I love winter process art? Each preschooler and toddler ended up with their own beautiful wintery scene. And so many opportunities for learning preschool skills!
Winter Crafts for Preschoolers
If you’re looking for winter activities that are more craft-like in nature, then you will love these super fun ideas. From bubble wrap winter textures to paper snowflake crafts, these are too fun!
More Process Art Activities for Preschoolers
Take a look at these other process art activities. They are all great process art activities for toddlers, too!
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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.