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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Process Over Outcome: Take The Stress Out of Activities at Home

I recently heard of Process Art: an artistic movement where the process of making a piece of art is more important than the final piece of art itself.

Painting with cars
Process Art Using Cars to Paint at Little STEAMers

I can't believe I'd never heard of it before. For me, this is how we should think of all children's art.

In fact, as a teacher, I understand that the process is almost always more important than the outcome in any subject.

For example, in the early years when children start writing words, it's the process of putting the sounds together and attempting to put them onto paper that's important and not the final spelling. It's hard to hold yourself back from correcting spellings, but it's actually better to let them try themselves.

Once you can get your head around the idea of valuing the process over the outcome, it's actually incredibly liberating as a parent.

Whether you're building a den, painting a picture or setting out a tea party, whatever creative activity you're doing try to let go of your own expectations of the outcome. Not only will it benefit your child, but it will help your relationship and reduce stress too.

How Valuing the Process Helps You

  • Avoids fighting and tantrums: When the goal is to explore and discover rather than achieve a perfect outcome, the pressure's off you to force them towards the outcome you had in mind. Instead you can support your child in following their own ideas.

happy child and adult painting
With Pressure Removed Everyone Feels Happier
  • You can enjoy a cup of tea: When you're allowing your child to lead the process, you no longer need to sit micro managing and finding corrections.

  • Saves time and money: You don't need any fancy set up (yep, you can ignore those perfect Instagram activities) or special materials when you're focusing on the process because the learning and joy comes from what they're doing and not what it looks like.

How Valuing the Process Helps Them

  • Encourages learning and development: Children in the early years are sensory explorers. Allowing them to explore and discover in their own way helps their learning and development in ways that direct teaching does not.

child building bridge from books
Process Engineering in Little STEAMers
  • Expands creative skills: Giving children control of the process encourages them to think creatively and independently. Developing creative skills is vitally important to their future success both in school and in the workplace as adults.

  • Increases confidence: When children are allowed to use their own ideas, they start to gain confidence in their own ideas, which in turn leads to them generating more ideas of their own.

  • Develops a growth mindset: Sometimes things go wrong, but that's a valuable part of the process. These mistakes matter less when value is moved from the outcome to the process itself. Understanding that mistakes are an important part of learning has been linked to higher achievement and greater participation and enjoyment of school.

If, like me, you find it hard to let go of an outcome, then try making or doing the activity yourself too. That way you can let your child lead the process for their own creation while you lead yours. I've found this really helps me, and my daughters enjoy that I'm doing an activity alongside them too.


At Little STEAMers we always value the process in our activities. Children are encouraged to explore the STEAM themes and activities in their own ways. This is developmentally appropriate, increases engagement for children and reduces parental stress.

Your first class is free and you can see the upcoming classes here.

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