Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's Playtime: Process Art & Play

Why It's Playtime?

We started It's Playtime as a group to promote play based learning and process art (also known as open-ended art).  Play based learning is exactly what it sounds like: learning through play.  This includes socialization, cooperation, as well as math, science, and reading.  Ever played a matching game with your child?  My 3-year-old son and I play a number matching game using Uno cards.
We take turns drawing cards from the pile.  We stack numbers that match into corresponding piles.  Once all the cards have been matched, we stack the number piles into sequence: 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.  My son loves it!  We are playing together and he is learning his numbers (and sequence) based learning!  No worksheets and no flash cards!

What about process art (or open-ended art)?  Process art is very different from a craft.  A craft means an end product: a duck, a frog, a fish, etc.  Crafts are about following directions, but not about exploration and imagination.  Process art allows for experimentation.  There is no end product except what's in the child's mind at the time.  Sometimes the art looks like something, sometimes it doesn't.  But isn't art about expression and interpretation?  What is learned is fine motor skills, creativity, expression, and taking risks.  Check out this process art project over at The Life and Times of Angelyn:
Yes, there is a theme, but the pictures are all unique.
And when mom and dad ask what their picture is, because it's us that want it to be something, not them, they won't all say, "rain drops".  It will be whatever they want it to be at THAT moment.

My son, Michael, recently created a more permanent process art masterpiece. I gave him some paint, some tools and a canvas to work on...
 He had complete freedom to explore color and materials and I think he created something beautiful.

This week at It's Playtime, I want you to think about how you and your children have played and what they have created.  Was it a craft?  A worksheet?  Or did they learn through play and expression?  Then share you're favorite play based or process art activity with all of us.

This weeks hostesses are myself and 4 other talented bloggers:

Our newest playtime partner (give her a warm welcome!): let the children play
hands on: as we grow: Move that Body!
Quirky momma: Planning for a road-trip with preschoolers
The Imagination Tree: Playing with Ice Cubes

No need to post in all 5 places; posting on one site will post on them all.
*If you have joined our play date before, please do not repeat past postings.  By posting on the link below, you are giving me permission to use the link and one image to feature in a future blog posting.

And don't forget to grab a button!  

And my featured blog get's an extra special button:


  1. Thanks so much for the feature! The simplest things can often be the best, and boy was that activity simple+fun.

  2. I love this playful event/party! Have linked my today's post (playing animals and habitats) over here and your page back in my blog post. :)

  3. My daughter is having a hard time learning her numbers - great idea to use UNO cards.

  4. @Jenny, we just played it this morning with my husband! My son saw the cards sitting on the table from the picture I took last night and asked to play :) He's even started calling 0 zero instead of "o".



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