1st Edition

How Children Learn and Create Using Art, Play and Science Understanding Through Your Hands

By Sabine Plamper, Annet Weterings Copyright 2024
    168 Pages 359 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    168 Pages 359 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    When children make beautiful drawings, we think it is wonderful. But many adults find it hard to understand what young children are doing when they scribble, smear, or draw endless lines, and why it is so difficult to motivate older children to draw or paint.

    This book shows that creativity is so much more than drawing or painting something beautiful. It is a way of understanding the world through your hands and learning through art, play and science.

    Drawing on the Reggio Emilia approach (among others), this book focuses on the process rather than the result and argues that children should be supported in experimenting with materials and mark-making. The authors go against traditional setups where an adult demonstrates how it should be done, showing instead that an inspiring environment and open-ended resources trigger children’s intrinsic motivation. The book shows countless inexpensive possibilities, which require little preparation, and get children in a creative flow.

    With its appealing full colour photographs, this fully updated English edition offers inspiration, a sustainable and feasible vision, and tools for facilitating creative processes at school, in childcare centres and at home. Full of practical guidance, it is essential reading for anyone working with children wanting to help them develop into self-aware, creative, and responsible people.



    1 Investigating is experiencing, learning – it’s creativity

    1.1 The importance of making your own marks

    1.2 Materials research in order to understand the world

    1.3 Making marks and learning through discovery

    1.4 A process of shaping is a process of developing awareness

    2 Visions on guiding creative processes

    2.1 Educational and creative sources of inspiration

    2.1.1 Jesper Juul

    2.1.2 Arno Stern

    2.1.3 Reggio Emilia and working structurally through research

    2.2 The practice-oriented vision of Understanding Through your Hands

    3 Guiding creative processes

    3.1 Introduction

    3.2 Basic attitude, responsibilities and tasks of adults

    3.2.1 Creating an inspiring atmosphere

    3.2.2 Choice of material

    3.2.3 Individual guidance and getting children into the flow

    3.2.4 Appreciating instead of judging, focus on process rather than product

    3.2.5 Being witness to the creative process

    3.3 What the experts say

    3.3.1 Titia Sprey, studio educator, Kris Kras Studio, Amsterdam

    3.3.2 Heidi de Geus, studio educator, BouwWerk lessons, De Bron Primary School, Amsterdam

    3.3.3 Sanne Groen, artist at children’s centres and schools in the Netherlands

    3.3.4 Mirja van der Bijl, studio educator, Laterna Magica Children's Centre, Amsterdam

    3.3.5 Ank Bredewold, art teacher, Het Gein Primary School, Amsterdam

    3.4 Finding you own style of working with Understanding Through your Hands



    Sabine Plamper is a cultural pedagogue and photographer with many years of experience working with young children in studios. She was also the artist educator at a Reggio Emilia-inspired children's centre in Amsterdam. Since 2011, Sabine has been working with 18-month to 10-year-old children at her Kris Kras Studio and gives practical trainings for educators in the Netherlands and abroad. 

    Annet Weterings is an author of books and articles for childcare and primary school education. Her works include a Dutch book on experiencing nature: Hear and see, smell, feel, taste. She has also adapted four books by the British author Penny Tassoni on the theme of parenting and has written a guide on promoting reading for teachers and teaching assistants.