In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition a mandala is a visual representation of the universe, believed to aid focus in meditation and promote a feeling of balance. The word mandala is taken from the Sanskrit word for circle.
Explore this art form by engaging in the creative process of making mandalas with your child from found items from nature. It is fun, easy and can be adapted with a variety of materials both indoors and out. Making nature mandalas is a creative and meditative process that promotes mindfulness while exercising a child’s imagination and ingenuity.
Making Nature Mandalas
Step 1 – Introduce your child to the mandala art form. This could be as simple as bringing up images on the internet or as complex as a unit of study. When looking at mandalas draw attention to symmetric patterns and unique designs. To inspire thoughtfulness and creativity using natural materials share images of nature mandalas.
Step 2 – Gather foundational materials. Grab some containers and go for a nature walk! Collect some rocks, pine cones, shells, leaves, flowers or petals – whatever is in your environment. Note different shapes, sizes and all of the symmetry that is characteristically found in the natural world.Step 2 Start your mandala. Typically when creating a mandala you start from the center and work out. As children are grasping the concept they may benefit from an encapsulated, circular design space. I have found success encompassing a child’s workspace with a hula hoop or a circle drawn with chalk on the sidewalk. Step 4 Take a picture of your creation. Nature mandalas are temporary forms of art. This is important to communicate to children during the process of creation to avoid disappointment. Capturing an image of a nature mandala is a great way to preserve the experience and to share the beauty of the masterpiece before it is deconstructed.
Creating nature mandalas is a great activity for mamas as well. While you are supervising your children at the beach or in the backyard or even if you get some time to yourself, see what you can come up with! I recently created this mandala alongside my children on a recent outing at a pebble beach:
Tag your creations (your child’s or yours!) on Instagram
#motheringmandalas for us all to see!
image credits: kidsandeggs.com