Letting children create in their own way, at their own pace, is a great way to encourage independence. Sometimes it is best to watch and not ask the questions, ” What is that? What are you making?” As adults we want to understand what is happening in the child’s mind during the creative process, but often the child isn’t even aware. They are simply creating in the moment. An activity that allows them to make whatever they want allows the child to truly exist in this moment. They can connect more with the way the materials feel in or on their hands. They become mesmerized by the shimmering of the glitter as they sprinkle it all over the paper. They love to see how big they can make a mark, or how the colors slowly blend together to create pools of rainbow swirls. Even the sound of the paint brushes on the paper is engaging for them as they explore all the materials interacting with one another.
In this activity the group of children were given complete control over the materials they used and how they used them. I explained that I would not be pouring any of the paint or directing the mural in any way. I was there to observe and help them if they requested other materials. The focus of this was to let them find a balance amongst each other without my help, all sharing the same materials and same space. The emphasis was on communication and respecting one another, as well as on the freedom of imagination without limits or guidelines.