I have read many books, written many lectures and marked many essays on how children learn through play, but there is nothing like experiencing it for myself, through the eyes of my daughter, to gain an understanding of how she is beginning to make sense of the world.
The favourite activity of the moment is painting her feet and then stamping on the paper (and now very slippy mat protecting the floor!- I think the slipping is half the fun, though it does make me rather nervous!). The delight on her face as she stamps away is a real joy, occasionally there is one really defined footprint and I get excited, and try to whisk it away to send to a Grandparent, before I am quite clearly told "Nooooooo!". She is not finished, and there is a tone of "what are you thinking Mummy? I have clearly just begun" to her little voice.
The finished product is of no importance to her, she is far to busy in the process of making, to worry about what it will look like. Mixing the colours with her hands, covering her hands, feet, elbows, ears and hair (I'm not so keen on the hair!) in paint and squidging it between her fingers and the paper are far more important. As I try to declare that we are finished and it is time for a bath, again I am told "Noooooo!" with the same intonation as before.
She is right, she is not finished, the process will never be finished, there is always more to discover and to learn, more paint to squidge. Though I do make a conscious effort not to endgain, through seeing my daughter's complete disregard for a finished product, I have realised how much I focus on it, when making art with her, or in the choreographic process.