Process vs product
So what does that mean? It basically boils down to placing a greater value on the experience a child achieves rather than the actual finished product.
We can often get caught in the trap of asking children to complete an activity in order to reach a final product. Instead, we can try and focus more on the process (or experience) that is achieved, which is so important for children.
Many sensory type activities focus on learning from the process rather than a product. Debs from Learn with Play at Home created a great post that explored this called 'Single Colour Paint Exploration'.
Here is an activity that I did with Possum that focuses on the process rather than the final product.
We simply pasted pieces of tin foil to paper using craft glue.
Possum was asked to tear up the tin foil into little pieces and place them into the bowl.
This task created a multi-sensory experience (sight, sound, texture), which was quite unique to anything I'd given her before. Asking Possum lots of questions and highlighting simple observations allowed her to think and deepen her learning experience.
To keep the small pieces of tin foil together I placed them all in a bowl. Possum, curious and eager to experiment, began blowing into the bowl of tin foil. She loved watching the light material scatter and fall. Many child occupational therapist rave about the benefits of children using their breath to help development.
Possum was asked to add glue to the paper, where ever she chose, and stick on the tin foil. The temptation to touch the glue was too great and she learnt more about cause and effect. That being, if you touch glue your fingers will get sticky (LOL). This activity was also wonderful in developing skills in fine motor control too!
It wasn't long before she realised that she could simply grab large handfuls of tin foil pieces and dump them over the page. Of course some parts touched the glue and other parts did not. Possum simply enjoyed playing with the tin foil pieces, scrunching some bits and flattening others, and covering bits with glue.
The activity continued and Possum enjoy the experience of pressing, hitting and sliding various pieces of tin foil across the page.
Must - resist - the - temptation!
I have to confess something - I'm a bit of a perfectionist and like things to be done a certain way/ There were many times during this activity that I felt I wanted to instruct her to change what she was doing, add pieces to different areas, make sure each piece had enough glue etc but I had to hold back. This was her own learning experience and I wasn't to interfere and make what she was doing into something that I felt would work better or create a better looking outcome. Kate from Picklebums wrote a great blog post called 'Let go and create' which is worth reading.
Our family fridge will always proudly display Possum's work regardless of the focus being on the process or product. To us, it's about being proud of her learning journey and the effort she puts in to all that she does.
Just for fun, the following images (below) are examples of quite the opposite to what I've been discussing, where the piece has a stronger focus possibly more on the final product than the process. In my opinion it's important to provide a balance of both! :)
I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog post and learnt something new.
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Do you hover and instruct your children too much?