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Part 5 of many.

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Okay the survey results are as follows:

92% played with Fevicol and loved it.
44% loved coloring and erasing with markers, 20% yes on only coloring, 20% yes only on erasing.
92% loved pencils and sharpeners.
Candle wax seems to be the biggest hit with 96% love.
57% did not like ripping newspaper. What a bummer?! I strongly recommend you guys try it. It is such a cathartic release.
50% love swirling paint, 28% like it, 14% are okay with it.
72% make rainbows in the shower and I am happy to announce that we all believe in showers and soap.
57% rolled chapathi dough and then ate it. 38% played and discarded the dough.
62% did not scribble in the house, no experimentation and wondered about my mother’s reaction.

My grand conclusion based on the poll results…….

As children, most of us just played for the sake of playing, without bothering about what we produced at the end of it. These are the found memories that we carry with us. These are the memories that we might have forgotten, but when kindled, put a smile on our face. This is process orientation. This is what your young child is doing. Just doing something and taking pleasure at that moment without a bother about the past, future, accolades, recognition, praise and the mess. Soon they are going to grow up and slowly get in to the product oriented mode. For now, just let them be.

This, my dear peeps, is the ulterior motive behind the survey.

Give them the art materials. Give them the space. Give them the freedom. Stand back. Let go. Let them play. Let them discover, understand and love their material. If you feel like they have to create something meaningful to an adult, get in touch with your Fevicol days. Set limits. Like for example, paint only on designated area. Because, not many of us have studio work space. So, parents need to set limits to protect the walls, furniture and carpet. If it is their first time with paint or messy material sit with them to make sure that they understand their limits. Children and mess, many a times it is not intentional, they just cannot help themselves. Even better, sit with them and participate without taking over or interfering. It provides the children with a good model and you get to realize how much fun the whole process is.

The first six years of their life, children learn their world and express their thoughts through art. So it is essential that parents understand that the process is ‘learning about the world and communicating through art’ which later, around age 7+, becomes ‘art through learning and communication’. You cannot ‘formally teach’ a three-year-old-child to make art, but you can show them the different ways to explore.

When it comes to tips, techniques and pointers, there are overwhelmingly large number of resources. But when I look for open ended art exploration for the preschool age, I carefully avoid projects that have a finished product to show for. But, hey, it is just me. Given my personality, I have to consciously stop myself from controlling what the children do. In my opinion, when we follow some one else’s instruction and strive towards a finished product, it is craft. Not that craft is any lesser, but it is some one else’s baby, not mine.

Coming up next: List of resources for open ended art and books on art appreciation.

All posts from this series.

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