Seattle Arab Cultural Camp Roundup {Outing}

Last week we held an Arab Cultural Camp in our home to teach local children about the group of people that live in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region of the world.

 

I had spent years working at a girl scout camp in our area, so being around the camp concept with children was not new to me. I knew I wanted to have an Arab cultural theme because Seattle has other camps that focus on the MENA area, therefore the interest is already in the community. I used the tutorials from this blog to fill the day with activities that were not religious or political and made sure to also include lots of physical, outdoor play.

 

In case others wanted to conduct a similar camp in their area, here was our fun, filled schedule.

 

Monday

We started the day by getting to know the kid’s names with camp name tag badges. The kids used Sharpies to decorate rectangle piece of wood, with a hole drilled in one corner. They could either write down their real names, or come up with a camp name.  Once they were done, the kids added yarn into the hole to make necklaces.  In the photo are my Camel camp badges, from the last two years at girl scout camp, that the kids used as an example.

Once we were finished, we dove right in and made art based on the Mosque Salt and Glue Watercolor Card {Tutorial}. While we waiting for the glue to dry outside, we made apples from the Nowruz Sib Origami {Tutorial}, plus some stars, in the living room.

After we finished our art, we took a break for lunch, which included a walk to the local park for our physical activity of the day. I had planned for the kids to take the Mosque Cardboard Ring Toss {Tutorial}, but it wasn’t easy to carry.  I have to put my thinking cap on and come up with a new one that can easily travel.

 

Upon our return, we got right down to business making room decor with the Halal/Haram Sharpie Light Switch {Tutorial}, followed up with punching paper to make a few bookmarks from the Moon and Star Punch Art Bookmark {Tutorial}. Then we stopped for a snack break to make some Ramadan Man’ousheh Mini Bites {Recipe} and finished our day stamping t-shirts to prep them for tomorrow.

Tuesday

Now that the tshirts were dry from being out in the sun all day, the kids took scissors to them to turn them into bags, for us to donate, based on the instructions from the No Sew Tshirt Bag {Tutorial}.  We then spent a little time making sand dollars look like real money with metal paint, just like in our Glittered Seashell Beach Art {Tutorial} and had way too much fun with Eid Green Slime {Tutorial}.  As in the kids didn’t want to go to the next activity!  But we managed to get them to paint with celery from the Palm Tree Celery Stamp Art {Tutorial} before we stopped for lunch.

Today was one of the hottest days in Seattle all summer.  Even with the air conditioning inside, it was just too hot to move.  So, with permission from the moms, we spent the rest of the day at our private swim club, soaking up some rays.

Wednesday

Half way through our week, we thought we would pause and spent a little time to talk about things that we are grateful for.  We placed those things on shimmering rocks with help from instructions on the Alhamdulillah Rocks {Tutorial}, before we moved on to make khatam earrings and necklace charms to gift to others (khatam is the Arabic word for eight point star) based on the Moon & Star Paint Chip Earrings {Tutorial} .

Our lavender bush in our front yard was in full of bloom, so the kids spent a little time picking the harvest to make it into a refreshing spray.  The kids then got down and dirty, to make goop to hold together their yarn art from the Crescent Moon And Star Yarn Window Art {Tutorial}.

We took a break for lunch, with also included a walk to a local park, before we rounded out our day to cut up some felt based on the Crescent Moon and Star Straw Toppers {Tutorial}. We enjoyed them with milk, while we cut up our food to make a Eid Party Fruit Snack {Recipe}.

Thursday

Today we spent a little time talking about the different countries of the Arab world and painting some rocks to represent their flags, based on the Arab World Rocks {Tutorial}. We went on to paint in the kitchen with sweet sticky fingers from the Sugar and Wax Resist Painting {Tutorial}, before covering crutches headed to Syrian refugees in whimsical duct tape to brighten them up.

Our last activity of the day in the studio was to make charms from the Islamic Shrinky Dink Charms {Tutorial} before heading back into the kitchen.

Once there, the kids learned about hummus.  They also made man’ousheh again since they loved it so much the first day.  Then as a special treat, we finished the day off again at the pool, this time inviting friends and siblings to join us and our home made snacks.  (I also gave each mom hummus I had pre-made to enjoy with the rest of the family later.)

Friday

It’s hard to believe we went through over 20 activities for the week.  We’ve been spending so much time making art about the MENA region, we went out today to find it.

 

We took the bus to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) to look first. We found a khatam design on the wall in the Islamic room and in a new instillation in the Sub-Saharan Africa galleries.

None of the camp kids had ever been to a museum, so we spent a little time exploring other rooms as well (the Japanese tea room was a huge hit). As someone who has been giving (adult) tours at SAM for 24 years, it was a wonderful experience for me to be around children for a change.

We had lunch in the museum cafe before heading to buy gum. They chewed and chewed it until it was soft before adding it to the Pike Place gum wall.

We washed our hands (I promise!), then bought cookies for the rest of the walk to the Olympic Sculpture Park (also part of SAM and free!) to look at more art. As a reward for all the walking the campers had done (close to 15 blocks!), I rewarded them with candy from the Kaab’a Candy Party Treat {Tutorial} I had made as I told them about the upcoming Eid Al Adha.

Once the kids were finished running in between the sculptures, we took the monorail back to our bus stop. One of the campers pointed out a khatam on our walk, can you see it?

For me personally, to introduce children to museums meant that Friday was to be one of the highlights of my week. I hope they go back.

 

Tips

Overall, the Arab cultural camp was a huge success as far as the moms were concerned. The campers went home tired, having learned new things. However, if I were to do this camp again next year, I would put into place these learning experiences:

 

Register early – Having the families register early gives you a better idea of how much you need to have on hand for supplies.  I am fortune that my studio is well stocked as a Plaid Ambassador, so I was able to grab so many different types of paints and brushes for our projects.  However, there were some things that needed to be bought before hand: name tags, t-shirts, light switches, celery, etc.

 

Advertise – I spent weeks before the camp setting up Facebook events, to invite all my mom friends, plus I sent out press releases to all the major newspapers.  I placed flyers in the Arab grocery stores and sent out emails to people I had worked with on similar children educational projects in the past. Next time, I would start earlier and advertise months in advance.

 

Print out activities – The campers outnumbered my volunteers, so having print outs of the instructions really helped the kids. I didn’t do this the first day and found myself repeating directions several times.  On the second day and moving forward, I made sure to not only include the written instructions, but also photos for the younger ones that can’t quite read.

 

Keep it light – Kids learn best with hands on activities that are fun. Rather then spend time with a slide show about the Arab world, I would just sprinkle little bits of trivia through the day.  For example, while painting the Arab flags, I might mention to someone who was painting Morocco that the first university in the world was created there by a woman.

 

Have some down time – I’m convinced that kids in the summer metamorphosis into sloths.  Who can blame them with all the over stimulation we give them the rest of the year? So if you are planning a similar camp, make sure to include a park, a pool, or an outing, to let them vegetate, every day.  It really is okay for them to be bored. This forces them to engage with the other kids at camp, or have a little time to collect themselves before the next set of activities.

 

Get community help – I had planned on hiring a local Arab musician to come show the kids how to play the darbuka.  Unfortunately, I was not able to raise enough funds this year, but hope to bring him next year.  Look around your community and see if there are others with a talent to include in the activities. This gives the kids a chance to learn from other voices.

 

xxx

Overall, I’m happy the camp went well and I’m looking forward to recreating it again next summer. On a much larger scale now that I’ve had the experience.

 

See you next year: as a camper, volunteer or cheerleader on this wonderful endeavor!

Seattle Arab Cultural Camp {Outing}

I have decided to create an Arab Cultural Camp for children in Washington.

 

After spending years working at various children’s camps around the Puget Sound, starting with StarTalk in Seattle and recently at Girl Scout Rainbow Camp on the Eastside, I wanted to create a camp that would specifically focus on the culture and heritage of the Arab world.

 

I have used the resources from A Crafty Arab, combined with my eleven year’s experience as an art docent at my daughters’ school, to create eight, fun, educational, camp stations.  These art lesson stations include themes about Arab hospitality, Arab countries, Arab literature, Arab traditional instruments, Arab spices, etc.

 

It will be held August 6-10 in my artist studio in Redmond and August 20-24 at Salaam Cultural Museum in Seattle.

 

Since this is our inaugural year, the camp will be limited to 15 participants on a first come, first served basis.  I will be taking children enterting grades K-6 from 8:30am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday, with a special outing and gallery show planned for our final day. Camp will be $200 a week to cover materials and visiting artists fees. There will be an open house for interested parents, to check out the studio and experience a sample art stations, on July 28th.

 

Arab Cultural Camp Sample Day

Our Arab Cultural Camp day will start with a Arabic story time/ song/ reading activity. My studio library includes hundreds of crafts and Arab children books. The children will be able to check out any of the books at the end of the day for enjoyment at home with siblings or other family members.

 

The children will then be separated for age appropriate stations. These included painting, cooking, calligraphy, dabke, etc before a break for lunch.

 

The children will enjoy a lunch from home, or a nutritious option can be provided for an additional fee paid that morning, before beginning a second set of stations.

 

Our day will finish with another story time / song / reading activity before the children are picked up.  If daycare hours are needed, please let me know.

 

We will have one day when a local Arab musician will come to teach the children how to play the darbuka for an all camp singalong, I am still working the details on which day. Our Friday will also be a little different as it will include an art outing, followed by a gallery show of all the children’s artwork.

 

Yalla, let’s do this, I’m in!

If you are interested in learning more about the Arab Cultural Camp, either contact me or fill out an Arab Cultural Camp Application.

 

If this year’s Arab Cultural Camp is a success, I have also submitted a City of Seattle Youth Arts grant to offer it for free to refugee children next year. If you would like to be involved in that endeavor, please let me know as I hope to make it a much larger scale project and will be grateful for a few helping hands.

Nakba Key Charm {Tutorial}

We are making a gift for our Ramadan craft today for a dear friend who is from Palestine.  We will give it to her at our upcoming Eid Al Fitr celebration.

 

Eid Al Fitr is the three day holiday that follows the holy month of Ramadan.

 

The charm is a key inside a frame.  This symbolizes the nakba, or the Palestinian’s 1948 exodus from their country.  Many Palestinians left with the key to their home around their neck, in the hopes of returning someday.

 

I received the mod melts as my role as Plaid Ambassador.  You can add any type of necklace you would like at the end.

 

Supplies

Mod melts
Melt forms – frame and steampunk
Pliers
Hot glue gun
Awl
Oval rings

My daughter picked the gold mod melt color from all the different choices, added it to the hot glue gun and waited for it to heat up.  Once it was at the correct temperature, she filled the small key mold.

She also made a small frame mold.  She waited a few minutes and popped them out of the mold.  She added a tiny bit of hot glue to the back of the frame to attach the key. She used the awl to poke a hole in the top of both charms.

My daughter inserted an oval ring into the hole she just created. She added a necklace before she closed it with the pliers.

Now the charm was done.

If you enjoyed making this necklace accessory, visit

Eid Origami Star Necklace {Tutorial}

Coin Felt Necklace {Tutorial}

 

Stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more DIY craft tutorials