Creating a nature mandala is a sweet way of honoring the equinoxes. These types of traditions help your children embrace seasonal changes and learn more about the natural rhythms of life.
Every year, as a way to honor the seasons changing during the spring and fall equinoxes, my children and I create a nature mandala. Sweet traditions and rituals like this, help my kids transition from one season to the next. For the recent fall equinox, we made a nature mandala with flowers and wild fruit that represented summer and dry grasses and leaves that represented fall. Read on to find out how to make yours!
What is a nature mandala?
- Mandala. A mandala is a geometric shape that means “circle” in Sanskrit. It is a common design among many different cultures and often appears as the sun, moon, and earth. In Hinduism and Buddhism, a mandala is a symbol representing the universe and life. The circular design is meant to express the concept that everything is connected in life. Learn more about mandalas by visiting the Mandala Project.
- Nature mandala. Similar to a mandala symbol, a nature mandala is also an “integrated structure organized around a unifying center.” It is a circular and non-permanent symbol using patterns to represent the circle of life. They are made with organic materials found in nature. It is a nature-based activity that allows children to observe patterns and cycles found in nature, which will help them transition from one season to the next.
Why is creating a nature mandala special?
- A meaningful activity. When a mandala symbol is created with things found in nature it is meaningful, because it recognizes our connection to the earth and all its living things.
- A way to express gratitude. Creating a nature mandala is a great time to help us slow down. This allows us the space and time to intentionally express gratitude for our earth and all its living things.
- A reminder of the connections in life. The circular design of a nature mandala, serves as a reminder that life is continuous. The cyclical pattern helps us remember that everything is connected.
- A time to observe natural patterns. The patterns of a nature mandala represent the cycles and rhythms we find in nature. This give us the chance to observe natural patterns like seasons, moon phases, the tides, and life and death.
- A learning opportunity. As you create a nature mandala with children, it provides a time to teach them about the earth and patterns found in nature. It is a way to help kids explore art, science, religion and life itself.
- A fun and creative activity. It is a fun and simple forest school activity that kids can do independently or with a larger group.
How do you make a nature mandala?
- Gather your materials. This is an outdoor activity, so before starting, you will need to find a peaceful place out in nature to create your nature mandala. Once you’ve picked a location, you will need to gather some organic materials around you to use. Things like twigs, leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, pinecones, and acorns work really well.
- Create your mandala. First, place a meaningful item in the center. Use something that is significant to you, because it will be your “unifying center.” After that is in place, use other items you gathered to form the rest of your mandala. Place items near the center first and then continue moving outward from the center until you’ve created a circular design.
- Complete your mandala. Continue making patterns until your items are used up and your nature mandala looks complete. And remember, you can create it however you like! You could use bright colors or muted earth tones. Make it big or small. Make it as simple or complex as you want.
Creating a Nature Mandala
- Use organic materials found in nature. Things like twigs, leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, pinecones, and acorns work well.
1. Pick a peaceful place out in nature to create your nature mandala. Then, you will need to gather some organic materials around you to use. Things like twigs, leaves, grasses, flowers, berries, pinecones, and acorns work really well.
2. To create your nature mandala, place a meaningful item in the center. Then start placing other items you gathered near the center first and continue moving outward from the center until you've created a circular design.
3. Continue making patterns until your items are used up and your nature mandala looks complete. And remember, you can create it however you like! You could use bright colors or muted earth tones. Make it big or small. Make it as simple or complex as you want.
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