Saw this post on Twitter and made sure to make it as soon as we had a chance.
This post is about choosing “meaningful art” over “crafts.” The idea is that as a teacher, if you have to do more work than your kids, then they probably aren’t really learning that much. Crafts do not invite much creativity because the kids have to end up making the same exact product as the rest of the group. I have to admit I have done a lot of this with our kids and especially for kids church, and it is really the most common way to have an activity related to the lesson if you have a sizable group of kids and a limited amount of time. But if you have the benefit of time and a smaller group of kids, then we highly encourage you to choose MEANINGFUL ART.
Meaningful art inspires creativity and innovation because there is no concrete end product in mind. In this example, we used cheap tempera paint in just 4 colors (blue, white, black, yellow), random-sized brushes, and cardstock. They were given a photo of a penguin family and the kids worked on their own project based on their own level of skills and understanding. There is no pressure of getting it “right” and no reason to compare their work with each other, or of getting graded for their work as well. The older kids naturally tried to challenge themselves to make their art more detailed despite the obvious limitations of the materials set in front of them. The younger ones played with the different brushes and with mixing the colors available. They experimented with the concepts of size, shape, scale, proximity, and the fact that that this art did not come with an “undo” button if they make a mistake. Therefore, they had to learn how to figure out how to make those “mistakes” part of their painting.
With a multi-level grade homeschool, we do a lot of these “process art” or “meaningful art” activities that they can enjoy doing together. It’s not about the end product, but rather, the PROCESS of LEARNING.