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Winter and the Letter O

Product vs. Process Art

In our classes, students engage in art every day. We try to include both product-focused and process-focused art projects because there are benefits to both. We often have a process-based art option for students during choice time, and a product-based craft later in the day. Product-Focused Art, according to Educational Playcare, is "when a child begins a project knowing what the end product should look like and they follow a set of instructions to get to their goal.  Product-focused art have a right and wrong way to work on the project and typically require a specific skill and technique to reach that end goal." Process-Focused Art, on the other hand, is more open-ended, and students are able to express themselves through their work. The end result of process-focused art is based on a child’s creativity, experimentation, and discovery.


The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC, describes process-focused art experiments as having some of the following characteristics:

  • There are no step-by-step instructions

  • There is no sample for children to follow

  • There is no right or wrong way to explore and create

  • The art is focused on the experience and on exploration of techniques, tools, and materials

  • The art is unique and original

  • The experience is relaxing or calming

  • The art is entirely the children’s own

  • The art experience is a child’s choice

There are many benefits of both product and process-focused art. For example, product-focused art allows your child to practice his/her fine motor skills (ie: cutting in a straight, curved or angled line, and most importantly how to follow directions and reach an end goal). Product-focused art is also a great way to teach about specific shapes, colors, etc. Similarly, process-focused art also allows children to practice their fine motor skills. However, how they decide to create with the materials that are available influences which skills the child may be reinforcing. For example, they can practice with their scissors, they can gasp different types of materials, or squeeze bottles of paint or glue. With process-focused art, it is all about the discovery. This allows the child to focus on being creative and learn to have the confidence to explore and experiment. Processed-focused art also provides plenty of opportunities for problem-solving.

Some fun process-focused art projects families can do at home include:

  • Drawing with markers, colored pencils, or crayons

  • Finger painting

  • Creating collages using different types of materials

  • Using different types of paints and objects as paint brushes (ie: painting with a tooth brush or vegetables)

  • Taping crayons or markers to trucks or cars and color paper while driving their cars around

  • Using a stamp pad to create a picture by stamping with their hands, toys, etc.

In the gallery below, you will find ideas for both process and product-focused activities that relate primarily to the theme of Winter (snow, snowmen, polar animals, hibernation, etc.). For those of us who feel more comfortable being in control, product art can sometimes seem easier to implement (especially since there are so many wonderful ideas online already, many of which can be printed at home), but my hope is that you can also have fun experimenting, discovering, and creating some process art once as well.


Zoo Phonic Friend: Olive Octopus, Oo

As with all of our vowels, we are beginning with the short sound when we learn about the letter O and Olive Octopus. Note, our Zoo Phonic handout for O does not include an owl to avoid confusion with out last animal friend, Nigel Nightowl, but that doesn't mean you can't talk about owls this week as well. Octopus' are unique animals to learn about, and this may call for an excursion down to the aquarium. Sometimes it's fun to explore various foods that begin with each letter of the alphabet (ie: olives, Oreo cookies, oranges, oysters, onions, octopus--found in the sushi section of some stores, etc.), or find songs that incorporate our weekly phonic, like "Only O" by StoryBots,or Raffi's "Apples and Bananas" (a good one for the long O sound, as well as other vowels). Of course, there are many other outstanding opportunities online as well.

olive octopus.jpg
olive octopus.jpg

Winter: Snow, Arctic Animals and Hibernation

This week we're focusing on all things Winter, and a few that feel like Winter because they're located in the snow. If we get more snow this year, you don't have to play with it just outside. Sometimes we put it in our sensory bin and let the kids play with it like they would sand or water. If we don't have snow, we like to put ice cubes in the bin with our arctic animal toys. There are some free Bingo and matching games with pictures of penguins, polar bears, seals, orcas, arctic foxes, walrus, reindeer, etc. that are fun to play as well. When talking about these animals and how they have adapted to the cold, snowy climates, we also like to discuss how animals around here live this time of year. The book "Copy Me, Copycub" (which is read by Mrs. Albert in the videos below) is a cute story about bears getting ready to hibernate for the Winter. When we're in school, we like to paint snowmen, but the process-focused art projects also make wonderful decorations around the house. The suggested activities below include a variety of process art, such as stamping legos in white paint onto dark paper, or creating a collage with white, multi-textured materials. If you're looking for something more structured, there are a few free printables and product-focused crafts included as well. Stay warm and have fun!

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