Tie-Dye Summer Fun!

TIEDYE

Though tie-dye was a summer staple for me as a kid at summer camp, many of the patients and their families that I work with in the clinic had never done a tie-dye project! It was fun to introduce the kids to this colorful activity, and what I enjoyed most was the “happy accident” quality of this kind of art work. It requires little technical skill, but always turns out interesting and beautiful. There’s a surprise element and delayed gratification because you have to wait for a long time to see the end result, which makes it different from other art experiences to which the kids are accustomed.
This can be a pretty messy project, so preparation is key. Luckily, there is a lot of protective gear in an oncology clinic and the kids enjoyed using the medical supplies for artistic purposes. Dressed from head-to-toe in contact isolation gowns (usually worn by staff when going into a room when a child has a contagious illness) and latex gloves (which are plentiful!), each child wrapped rubber bands around plain, white bandanas. I purchased a tie-dye kit with powdered die already in squirt bottles, so all that was needed was water. This made the project more contained than the tie-dye of my youth, which typically involved big buckets, if memory serves. We then wrapped up the bandanas in our handy “Biohazard” baggies to let the die set.
A day later, the kids got to take home a beautiful bandana – great for protecting bald heads in the Texas summer heat. Each one was so unique, and kids and staff really enjoyed getting to see the final project.

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