Somedays, when I unwrap my tie dyed fabric I stop and look in wonder. On these days I take the time to notice the intricate colour play and patterns my colour friends have made over my fabric. Did you know that some colours run fast whilst others meander? I’ve watched them flowing over fabric, over the hills and valleys in the patterns I folded. Yellow, it’s a bit of a sprinter, it starts out strong, but peters out quickly. Turquoise reminds me of a rushing river, collecting every colour in its path, merging with yellow, turquoise welcomes the sunshine in and green grass appears. Over there, when turquoise greets magenta, passionate purple arrives on the scene for a chat too. Have you seen what happens when rushing red meets bright orange? Flicker flames of golden colour burst forth. Sometimes, when I focus my imagination, I see the patterns, what do they remind me of; a Mandelbrot set, a satellite image of a river delta, the waves lapping the sand at the beach. This is mindfulness.
Children, parents and educators are experiencing unprecedented amounts of daily stress. Every decision we make is micro-managed against health and safety risks. Fun spontaneous adventures have been replaced by lockdowns, closed boarders and cancelled holidays. Checking that everyone has got their mask, hand sanitiser, and has been reminded to wash their hands has been added to the daily routine of packing lunches. The stress is taking its toll on our wellbeing and our mood.
To get through these stressful times with our sanity in tact we need ways to escape, moments where the pressures are decreased and the fun is increased.
Do you remember being so involved in something that time stood still?
I see this happen for both children and adults when they’re completely immersed in an activity; their mood lifts, their eyes sparkle and they feel calmer.
That’s the power of mindfulness.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to involve quiet meditation, stillness or tranquility. In fact, mindfulness for children is more effective when it engages them in fun, active or messy activities.
Tie Dyeing is the perfect fit for mindfulness as it involves our senses.
Folding a t-shirt into different patterns involves your child’s tactile senses. Their sensitive fingers feel the textures of the fabric as they bend and fold it into hills and valleys for their design. Stretching and pulling a rubber band around their fabric to hold in their design
offers another bouncy sensory experience.
The bright tie dye colours spark imaginations. You may have dyes in all the colours of the rainbows, but they don’t need to go next to each other. Which colours will you choose to place next to each other to get your desired patterns. Children’s attention is peeked as they watch the dyes flow over the fabric, why does that dye form colourful bubbles in some places and soak up fast in other areas? They’re fascinated watching the tie dyes blending together creating secondary and tertiary colours.
Being completely absorbed into each aspect of Tie Dyeing gives young and older time out, time away from the daily stress we are all experiencing as we live through a pandemic.
After the dyeing, the waiting and the washing, the time finally comes when your handmade tie dye creation can finally be worn! Sometimes you’ll be surprised by the colours that have appeared, or be intrigued by the patterns that they made. But one thing is certain, whenever you wear your Tie Dye you’ll be carrying those moments of mindfulness, fun, happiness and calmness with you.