The idea of ‘process over product’ is thrown around a lot regarding kids and creative processes. Still social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook pages are littered with craft ideas for kids and crafts are so dang popular that I’m scared to write this post.
You see, I want to provide a different point of view on this focus. Let’s reflect together and share authentic ideas of what is meaningful, respectful and helpful for children.
What is the real point of a predetermined result and expectations with respect to art and creativity? How does this help the creative process and children’s unique abilities and inspiration?
Before I hear the debate that it’s good for kids to follow orders – I want you to think of all the ways that kids already have instruction in their lives. In my opinion, there are many more appropriate ways to obtain this kind of instruction where it’s free from pressure and expectations and removed from creativity and arts.
Think of all the recipes, board game rules, science experiments, Lego instructions, sports rules – just to name a few! I feel that each of these examples has a clear helpful and meaningful result. Can you say the same for a crafts?
Crafts, in my opinion, are limiting and riddled with expectation that really removes the creativity from art. The creative process for anyone – children included – should be the opposite of limiting.
For those who say it’s ‘just a bit of fun’– for whom and in which way? If a child really does love to make cookie-cutter crafts then of course – that’s up to them. But it’s potentially harmful when it’s pressured or expected.
Creativity and arts is fun enough without predetermined results and expectations. Some children will make typical ‘crafts’ with art materials on their own accord in a way that is truly significant to them.
Crafts can provide inspiration – sure – but in the same way that famous artists can. I don’t believe it should be a matter of force. Open-ended creative design for all ages is so much more fulfilling and, well, creative!
ETA: Unfortunately I couldn’t title this “Why we don’t do crafts that are not purposeful or meaningful to the child and impose unnecessary expectations on them” but that’s the basic premise.
Craft materials are still all throughout our home and life but we are yet to do any crafts (i.e. craft kits or crafts with a specific outcome).
However, I can see how ‘crafts’ can also include knitting/sewing/felting/etc and that certainly can benefit from instruction to help learn the technique needed.
What do you think? This is just my opinion after all!