Do you ever become so overwhelmed by something that you become totally unproductive – you actually freeze up? As a student, I remember this happening often. I needed something to help me refocus. If only I had known about zentangle patterns when I was a kid. If you are looking to learn how to draw zentangle patterns, head to our 20+ Zentangle Patterns for Beginners post for all the inspiration.
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Zentangle Art for Kids
When feeling overwhelmed, have you ever found yourself doodling? Aimlessly doodling can be quite meditative and beneficial to our minds. I’m always looking for new coping strategies to teach my kids. Creative and independent ways that they can cope with stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. A few weeks ago I introduced the art of zentangles to my tween daughters. We have only scratched the surface, but we have discovered that zentangle for kids is an easily accessible, meditative activity.
What is Zentangle Drawing?
Okay, what is a zentangle? Originally I thought that a zentangle was just doodling…I was wrong. The zentangle method is a trademarked process based on a theory developed by founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. You have undoubtedly seen this patterning art form before, it has become incredibly popular. “ZEN” means calm and “TANGLE” means a collection of overlapping patterns. ZENTANGLE is the bringing together of the calm and the pattern. It was originally based on using a 3 1/2 inch square of heavy stock paper and a black fine marker and various patterns that turn into a creative piece of art. We didn’t follow the exact Zentangle method, but we had a lot of fun experimenting.
How to do Zentangle? What is a Zentangle Pattern?
Our zentangling was very informal. How you choose to zentangle is up to you. This is the beauty of this technique – there are no mistakes. In the end, everything works out. While there are many examples of zentangle patterns available online, there is no “right” or “wrong” pattern. Use your imagination.
For our beginner zentangles, I drew 3 1/2 inches squared on heavy stock paper and with a fine-tipped black Sharpie. My daughter drew a free-flowing line that started in one spot in our square and then looped and tangled its way around the square.
Can you see all of those little overlapping spaces? Those are what you want to achieve. Once that initial line was drawn, it was time to get creative with drawing zentangle patterns.
My daughter sat quietly, listening to music and drawing – creating repetitive patterns within each section that was created by the tangled line.
Some of the zentangle patterns were simple – waves, zig-zags or dots. Some patterns were more intricate – radiating circles, basket weaving. There are an endless number of possible patterns to draw. It took my daughter about 15 minutes to complete one square. 15 minutes sitting and drawing. Emptying our minds and letting our creativity flow.
In the end, our zentangle drawing looks amazing. But aside from the finished product, there are other reasons why zentangling is a great exercise to introduce to kids
Why Zentangle For Great Kids
Unplugged – Anything that can get children excited about not being plugged into a device is genius. Zentangling can be done anywhere and at anytime. All you need is a pen and paper. Bring a notebook to the park, while waiting at the doctor’s office, during recess..anywhere and anytime. This is a fantastic summer craft project for tweens to explore.
There are No Mistakes – I have a little perfectionist, who always needs an exit strategy if something is not going quite right. Mistakes are hard to move forward from…they can be debilitating. When you zentangle you use a marker – no erasers – and there are no mistakes only new and different patterns to work with.
Calming – The simple act of drawing repetitive patterns is calming and relaxing. There is no pressure, just open-ended drawing. While drawing, it is amazing how quickly your mind empties, and your heart rate drops – there are no expectations with this form of art. The effect is meditative. I have written about the benefits of walking meditation before, well this simple doodling is another easily accessible form of meditation.
When we completed a few squares I asked my daughter what she thought. Would she zentangle again? Yes! She really enjoyed this new way of doodling. We talked about how zentagling would be a great study break activity.
Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Stop, draw a square and make a tangle of lines…off you go.
Do you doodle? Have you ever tried to zentangle before?
Zentangle Art Supplies:
Zentangle for Kids by Jane Marbaix
More Zentangle Ideas
Have fun with our fall zentangle patterns and printable fall zentangle templates
Check out our printable Halloween zentangle templates and learn to make cool Halloween zentangle patterns
Check out all of our cool art projects for tweens
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