Mini Monets and Mommies: Kids' Process Art: Explore Mixed-Media and Materials

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Kids' Process Art: Explore Mixed-Media and Materials

Process art allows your child to explore, experiment and make her own discoveries. It helps your little artist to get hands-on, build critical-thinking skills and flex her creative muscle.  If you’re looking for a project in which your child will make “something” specific, stop reading now. Yes, I know it’s probably not smart to tell my readers to actually stop reading, but this is pure process and abstract experimentation. If you’re in desperate need of a Mother’s Day craft, piece of animal art or a crafty letter-learning project I have plenty. They just aren’t this one.

Process art
I used to teach art classes in the Children’s Studio of my local museum. I had this thing that I did whenever I could justify it (we had themes to stick to, so sometimes it really didn’t make sense). I made a buffet style line-up of various art materials. I included everything that I could think of (or at least that was age-appropriate) and let the kids go. No rules (other than don’t eat it and don’t throw it at someone else). They got the chance to explore a variety of processes while making an abstract mixed-media masterpiece.

So, I set up a buffet on my dining room table. I used a large piece of foam core board under the paint and glue, but I highly recommend lining the table with cardboard or flattened garbage bags.

Painting for children
I added an array of different art materials.

Process art
Process art
I cut the front off of a cereal box. Cardboard is heavy enough to support the weight of several different materials at once. Construction paper is not.

Then I let my son take over. In all honesty he’s way past the preschool years, but he actually wanted to make a messy abstract artwork (and he never wants to make art anymore). So, I couldn’t say no.

He finger painted with clay. Kids can press it onto the cardboard and it will stick. They can also mix and blend the colors.

Clay art
He painted.

Art materials
He squeezed out clear drying school glue and then sprinkled on craft sand.

Craft sand
He sprinkled on glitter. Now it’s everywhere – on the table, the floor and somehow, my hair.

Sparkle project
He added Model Magic (coloring it first with markers).

Process activity
He glued crumpled tissue paper on. It adds texture!

Kids' art
Nope, it doesn’t look like “something”, but it sure was fun to make.

Kids' class
You can pick other materials to use, adding as many as your child wants to try. Think out of the box and consider other “non-art” items such as flowers. The kiddos can glue them on, use them with paint to print or rub the color off onto the paper.

Follow Erica Loop's board Process Art for Kids on Pinterest.


  1. Thanks for the reminder to let them freely explore! I need to be better about letting my kiddos use more than one or two materials when we craft.

  2. Love the idea of an art "buffet"! Kids love having the chance to explore freely-- you really get a sense of their creativity, too!

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  4. Love the textures!! Great effects :)

  5. I love this! I think my kids will, too! I may have to do this sometime. :-)

  6. I love the creativity of this art project! Totally something I would love to do :)

  7. So great! Featuring this tomorrow on Family Fun Friday at Thanks for linking up!

  8. I really love this abstract idea of not creating anything specific and using all different materials like glitter, paint, clay, and.tissue paper at the same time :) im actually a little bit envious. I miss doing art but my tot would eat it all lol guess I gotta come back to that post about painting with fruit- pretty sure that was you... and cross my fingers it.doesnt get in the carpet ;) I LOVE your art blog.

  9. How fun!! You had me chuckling at "no-holds-bared art assault" :)

  10. Giving a lot of choice for kids to create a new form of arts will give them more confidence and proud. I love what you mention as Art Buffet. Thank you very much for sharing. I enjoy it a lot.

  11. One of the best ways to do art with kids!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  12. Thanks for sharing with Small Victories Sunday linkup. Love your creative ideas, my kids love art and I can always use new ways to keep them entertained on rainy days. Pinning to our linky board.

  13. I love using cereal boxes as canvases too - they're so much sturdier than construction paper! This is such an awesome open-ended art idea!

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