Mandalas are not only beautiful, but they’re stress-relieving and enjoyable to create.
They are also a great way to explore:
- patterns (repeating and growing)
- rotational symmetry (for the grade 5+ crowd)
- and meditation
While it’s become commonplace to print out a colouring sheet of a mandala to relax while you colour, this activity is more kinaesthetic and active. The kids ran around the yard, and calmly arranged their mandalas. We left them so that over time, if they choose, they can be added to.
For younger kids, like Magnus who is 3, it helps to start with something circular in the centre. We used a plant pot from last year’s garden shopping. Large rocks or stumps/logs are also great to use.
Getting started can be a struggle. We showed the boys a mandala drawing and pointed out how it is circular, and how each layer is different, and how there are different patterns in them. We also showed them how we could get started by grabbing some pinecones and a rock.
It was a bit of a slow start, but after a few minutes they were deeply invested and went to work finding materials and building their mandalas. Kingsley did his almost completely independently (he’s 5, and does plenty of these art prompts – your five year old may do the same, or may need more guidance and support to explore this); Magnus (age 3) needed prompts to start each new layer.
As you get further into the mandala, you can start to release the responsibility to your kids. Don’t forget to snap some photos, since bringing this stuff inside won’t be an easy task!