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Process Art & Product Art

process and product art

Sometimes in our schools, we talk about topics that just make sense to us as early childhood education professionals … Discussing the differences between process art and product art is one of those conversations! We talk about the benefits of both artistic styles and the development children are exposed to when given the opportunities to participate in both product and process art!

So you’re probably wondering what exactly is the difference and what “process art” and “product art” even mean… Let’s talk about it!

Process art is a type of art that focuses on the process of creating the art rather than the final product. Rather than showing an example of a garbage truck and cutting out the tires and the truck body to have children glue together, teachers may just say “Let’s cut and glue garbage trucks” with all of the needed raw materials in front of the students. Giving children an empty pallet and no visual expectations allows children to explore their creativity and express themselves in a variety of ways. The true art in process art is the process!

There are so many other benefits of process art for young students. It can help children develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. It can also help them learn about colors, shapes, and textures. Additionally, process art can be a great way for children to express their emotions and connect with their creativity. With comfort and freedom built into the creative process, it is easy for students to feel pride in their final work!

young girls doing process art at preschool
preschooler with process art

You can see in these pictures students are using un-cut popsicle sticks, toothpicks, and Q-tips, and they cut the brown paper to make their own smores and this marshmallow tower! Both projects were made with the same concept in mind… Process Art!!

Product art is the opposite of process art! With product art, you end up with the footprint paintings that every family adores for years on end. Children come home with things like autonomically correct flowers, clouds with the water cycle drawn in them, and little leaves made out of handprints from an autumn class project.

Oftentimes, product art is used to teach a concept or make a gift. We know that children learn through play and children play through art so guided art projects are often a great way to teach new concepts!

product art at preschool
young girl painting at preschool

In these pictures, our students are learning all about apples! These art projects are used to enhance the lessons our students were learning about while also giving them the opportunity to work on their artistic skills! The final products they made as visual reminders of what they had just learned are what makes both of these projects… Product Art!

There are benefits to both art styles and we use both in our classrooms. We are not purely making one or the other, but instead, using our child-guided and interests-based curriculum to decide which style fits best in every scenario!