The school where I work has a wonderful program called P.A.W.S. (Participating After-school With Success). It is organized by our amazing PTA and it runs twice a year. Students sign up and go to a six-session series based on a fun theme, like Cooking or Kickball...or Hip Hop...or Legos...or Duck Tape! One year I taught an Origami P.A.W.S. class, but my family schedule doesn't always allow me to be part of the P.A.W.S. class offerings. This fall, however, I found a way to make it work. I've always thought it would be neat to do a hands-on art class that parents could enjoy right next to their kids; since I love tangling with my daughter, I thought Zentangle would be ideal. And so I proposed Family Zen Zone. I had three families sign up and we have been meeting on Mondays to tangle together since late September. We had a fourth family participate for few sessions, too. I taught 4 or 5 new tangles each week, except last week I only taught one: Auraknot--a complicated tangle, but so worth exploring! At that class, we didn't even do a tile, we just explored Auraknot on paper, and I challenged everyone to do a tile at home over the course of the week.
I have enjoyed this class immensely and am sad that tomorrow will be our final official session. But I am so glad for the time we have spent together!
The students and their parents did beautiful work.
Here are some of our class mosaics:
|This is the grand mosaic of everything they have done so far!|
I am sharing all this to encourage others to seek opportunities for parent/child tangle sessions. Perhaps a CZT in your area could offer a workshop or series of classes. How fun it is for parents to learn the skill of tangling right next to their son or daughter!
Can you believe that she has been tangling less than two months?!
Thank you, Nancy!
I love that idea of parents and kids tangling together! And the artwork is beautiful. :-)
Hey! That is awesome! We run a summer camp here in Ohio and we are hoping to do this for a craft this summer. Any tips for teaching 7-12 year olds some basics in a 1-1/2 hr session but still keeping it organic and outdoor camp related? I love the results of what she has shared here. Sandy we have also bought your book and my kids love it but since I am not a CZT and it is summer camp I could really use some simple tips and feedback. Is there another way to get in touch with You? Stxradley@gmail.com
Hey Stxradley! Why not try tangling with Sharpies on rocks? (Painted rocks being a staple of my camping experiences when I was kid!) You could start by having them look for patterns around them - maybe a nature walk/pattern hunt then, when they've gathered patterns, sit down and transfer them to rocks? Just a thought!
Thank you for posting a response! I am happy that you are inspired by this post, and that you wish to include Zentangle in your camp plans. Many tangles relate directly to patterns that are seen in nature: tagh looks like fish scales or layers of petals on a chrysanthemum...meer resembles a feather. Pokeroot is based on the stem-and-berry structure of a weed! Tipple and 'nzeppel remind me of stones and pebbles; tangles with spirals call to mind snails and fern fronds about to unfurl. Sez reminds me of raindrops on the surface of a pond or puddle. I could go on and on! (If you are unfamiliar with these patterns, tanglepatterns.com is a great resource! I think most if not all of the tangles I mentioned can be found there.)
Perhaps you could introduce some of these nature-inspired tangles early in the camp, and encourage the kids to be on the lookout for other nature-based tangle ideas throughout their camp days. Remind them that much of the beauty we see in nature stems from simple shapes and lines repeated to create patterns...just like Zentangle!
Some ideas for tangling include tangling on recycled surfaces, such as the inside of cereal boxes. Or you could use coffee or tea to stain a surface. One of my favorite new surfaces to tangle are coffee-stained, metal-rimmed tags that I happened to find one day as I was surfing the web. Here's a link directly to the company I bought mine from:
Another idea is to collect leaves and do some crayon rubbings on paper of them...and then fill in the negative spaces around them with nature-inspired tangles.
A final idea that just came to mind: try to incorporate the age-old camp tradition of storytelling with Zentangle. Have tangles that represent aspects of the story...or make up stories that feature ideas, characters, animals, places, and/or things represented by tangle patterns.
Even if my suggestions aren't ones you can use, perhaps they will spark ideas in you that are ideal for your camp. Ooh--here's another idea: what if each camp counseler "specialized" in a certain tangle or two that over the course of camp they were able to share with the campers. They could teach them by drawing with a stick in the dirt or on a dinner napkin, or ...or...or, well I am running out of steam. That idea would require training the staff ahead of time...which might not be a bad idea. Also, if your camp has a quiet time worked into the schedule like mine did when I was a kid, tangling would be a good activity for those kids who simply can't settle down to rest.
Here's an important thing to note: you don't need to provide a huge number of tangles to inspire creative hands and help someone develop a Zentangle practice. A few tangles, well-taught, and utilized in various ways go a long, long way.
Best wishes! Keep us posted of your plans and how they develop and work out, and know that we are here to encourage and support you!
Thanks so much! I really appciate the feedback. Currently our camp is set up for class sessions in the mornings, and each session is 1-1/2 hours long. Most of our crafts are recycled materials. We don't have a large budget for crafts and other activities and unfortunatly there is not usually enough interest in crafts to generate more support. My husband is the director of the camp and my kids are finally old enough to allow me to become more involved. He decided that I would need to teach the craft this year since it would free up another counselor to teach a different class. I usually pick out all of our crafts anyway so this isn't that different; I will just have more direct interaction with the kids. So far the crafts this year are: button bracelets, zentangle, and basket weaving.
With four sessions to fill I am sure I can make zentangle last two days but I hope to keep the kids interested the entire time as well. We do have access to some tile leftover from tile jobs a friend does and I have considered using the tile and mod podge to mount the finished tangles for permanent display for the kids to take home.
I noticed that with your class you taught a few tangles and let them tangle them up. I have also seen that the tangle kits you can buy sometimes come with a dice/die? in which the kids can roll the dice to randomly choose from a set of pre-chosen tangles to fill in their spaces. I was wondering if this would be something that kids would enjoy?
I really love all the ideas you put forth and I plan on introducing tangling to my staff but you are right when you say that that would require staff training time we simply don't have. I am inspired to try teaching them via our Facebook group though. It would be helpful if the counselor a were really interested in it.
Supplies bought so far include sharpie fine tip markers and a couple sets of fine tip washable markers. Should I even introduce colors? Or would that complicate things too much? I also have a lot of paper but it is really just copier printer paper. Budget again. :(
I am beginning to realize that the whole zentangle thing has so much freedom within it that it is hard to narrow it down to a few simple steps.
Ok, long post, and if you need to email a response I totally understand. Thanks for your input and willingness to help! I really feel blessed! Thanks so much. Have a great day and I hope to hear from you soon.
Ps, Kelly I totally love the rock idea. I have several of that style pinned on my camp craft board, but I am unsure of a cheap rock source other than the ground and we don't really have nice smooth rocks around here. But I will write it down and keep it as an idea for those who finish early! Would be a great way to use up more time. They could also just tangle on the tile we have, which would certainly be a smooth surface... So many possibilities I am glad camp doesn't start til June! I gotta check all these out! Thanks again!
Wow, it's been too long to wait to say thank you. This was so helpful. If you click on my blog post you'll see some zentangle posts. One was trying the idea and I updated it recently with pictures of our results. The kids loved doing the leaf rubbing and filling it in with tangles. I have kids that still tell me they are tangling. Thank you so much. This year we hope to use zentangle again. JoArtyJo has an Etsy shop with zentangle printables. I am trying to partner with her to get a printable book with nature tangles for the kids to take home. I am also hoping to order from Nasco this year. They have scratch-art ATC's for an affordable price for our camp. Hopefully the kids will love it just as much this year. Thanks again!
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