Pin It
Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Turkish Mosaic Craft for Kids

By
Turkish mosaic for kids/ Justine Ickes

As the mom of two Turkish-American boys, I’m always on the lookout for ways to expose my kids to their Turkish heritage, especially the amazing arts and crafts. From miniature paintings to marbled paper, hand-woven kilims, carpets, ceramics and mosaics, Turkish artists have a long tradition of creating stunning art.

But living in rural Connecticut, we don’t often see real-life examples of arts and crafts from that part of the world.

So, when the winter holidays came around last December, I started thinking about how we could incorporate some traditional Turkish and Islamic patterns into our family’s holiday décor. That’s when I hit on the idea of making Turkish-inspired garlands using a mosaic pattern.

Worried a bit about the geometry? Don’t worry. Even math-phobic moms like me can do this!

Materials
Plain white paper—any size will do
Ruler
Pencil or pens
String or yarn
Push pins
Table or other flat, sturdy workspace
Thin foam board or recycled cardboard (thick enough to hold the push pins)—omit this it you’re okay with having little push pin dots in your table’s surface.
A fixed protractor is optional—for simplicity’s sake, we didn’t use one for our mosaics.

Time for a Little Art History
Way back when, before the protractor was invented, architects and designers used a piece of string to draft plans and templates. The artist would tie a string around a fixed point—a tree, for example. Then, holding the other end of the string taut in one hand, the artist would walk around the tree, inscribing a perfect circle as he walked.

Once the basic circle outline was set, the artist would use the center point of the circle and the string to divide the circle into halves, then quarters, eighths and so on.

I went for the purist approach with my kids and chose not to use a protractor. If your children don’t have the fine motor control to draw with the string, you can pre-draw the circles and mark the center in advance. Then follow steps 6 through 9 below.

Instructions for Making a Mosaic
1. Tie a piece of string to the head of a push pin. Tie the other end of the string to a pencil or crayon. We found six inches was a nice length to work with.

2. Lay the foam or cardboard down or even an old coloring book on the work surface. Place one sheet of paper on top.

3. Insert the push pin into the paper. Make sure it goes all the way through into the cardboard.

4. Have your child pull the string taut and then draw a circle. Note: you may need to help hold the push pin in place and/or help your child keep the string taut.

5. Remove the push pin and the string.

6. Help your child use a ruler to draw a straight line that divides the circle in half. This is a great time to sneak in some math-awareness questions like, “How can we find the middle of the circle?” or “How small of a slice can you make?” or “What does this shape remind you of? (i.e., a piece of pie, a pizza, a color wheel).

7. Continue using the ruler to divide the circle into increasingly smaller sections. Note: Consider the size of your circle when figuring out how many slices. You want to leave enough room for your child to experiment layering in colors and details onto the mosaic template. I find that it works best to limit yourself to four lines (which creates eight sections).
8. Help your child inscribe a square onto the circle. To do this, use the ruler to connect the ends of the lines at the point where they touch the circle’s edge. Again, here’s another opportunity to help your child work on pattern recognition and basic geometry concepts. Ask questions like these, “What shape did we just draw? How many squares can you find in the drawing? Are there any triangles?”

9. Invite your child to color in the different sections, using crayons, markers, chalk or colored pencils. You may choose to have them just enjoy the process, coloring willy-nilly. But, if you want to create a recognizable pattern, then you’ll need to give them prompts like, “Let’s color in all the triangles first. Which two colors do you want to use? Okay, let’s color one triangle orange, and then the next triangle will be blue. And we’ll keep switching like that.”
Now you’ve got your own Turkish mosaic to hang at home! If you make a couple and laminate them, they could serve as cool, new place mats for your table.

© 2012 – 2013, Justine Ickes. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Breastfeeding Around the World

In photos and figures

Family History

Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief

How I Moved to Thailand with my Family on Less than $1000

It's cheaper than you think to make that move abroad you always dreamed about

Is Raising Bilingual Children Worth the Costs?

Fancy schools, international vacations, foreign language books, DVDs and tutors add up fast

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Freelance writer and instructional designer Justine Ickes specializes in travel, culture and education. Her work has appeared in over two dozen publications, including Babble.com, the Huffington Post, Language Magazine, Litchfield Magazine, New Jersey Monthly, Scholastic’s Parent & Child., and Up! Magazine. Read Justine’s blog at www.cultureeveryday.com and browse her instructional design portfolio at www.justineickes.com. Follow her on twitter: @justineickes

Leave us a comment!









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!
[easy_sign_up phone="0"]

A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
Hi...I am an Asian who was adopted and raised by Caucasian American missionaries in South America. I have two kids-my daughter is 16 and my son is 11. When I had my first baby I too was indoctrinate...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
This Karina, the Karina from the article. I'm now 13. It took this article was written 3 years ago and barely coming across it right now. I was originally trying to look for my folkloric pictures fo...
From How This Single Working Mom Raised a Trilingual Kid
Nice recipe, thank for shari...
From Vaisakhi Recipe: Sarson Ka Sag
I've been in Germany Ten years now, Lived in Frankfurt and Stuttgart, specifically Leonberg. In Frankfurt I was shocked by how unfriendly the People were, how aggressive their Drivers, but in Leonbe...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
At DreamAfrica, we are a streaming app for animations and films from around the world. We celebrate cultural representation in digital media and invite you to download and share our DreamAfrica appp...
From What We Are Not About
Imagine those people who work at your typical IT Department, yeah those weirdos with low EQ, no manners, no social skills; indeed those who kiss the bosses' ass when it's convenient, but get offend...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
I contacted the editor of this magazine (Stephanie) and she told me she'd inform Jan about this article. I have since changed my mind about going to Germany because of Merkel's policies, and this i...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
@Daniela You speak BS, you have never seen Franconia, or you're a Franconian girl. In the second case, I know that no intellectual conversation could be made with Franconian people, because you'r...
From Are Germans Really Rude?

More Crafts