Our latest art interest began with the purchase of a simple and inexpensive kaleidoscope. Seeing my daughter mesmerised by the changing colours and geometric patterns has inspired a whole series of projects, all focused on the themes of symmetry, kaleidoscopic patterns and radial designs.
Mandalas are a great way to combine these concepts in an art form that can be a lot simpler than it looks! Initially, I thought the exploration of mandala art with a toddler would be futile, as there is a degree of discipline, patience, and precision required. But we have managed to produce a few relatively kid-friendly mandalas, so I thought it was an idea worth sharing.
For those who haven’t come across them before, mandalas are spiritual symbols that represent the universe, traditional of Eastern cultures and religions, particularly Buddhism and Hinduism. They are generally circular, symmetrical designs that extend outward from a central focal point. The patterns often appear ethereal or mystical, and are intended to be therapeutic in aesthetic – they are even used by some as an aid in meditation.
There are a number of ways to explore mandalas and you can use almost anything, from everyday objects and toys found around the house to leaves, stones and sticks found in the garden. Once kids have caught onto the concept, they can try making more permanent mandala art on paper, using stickers, paint stamping, leaf printing, finger painting or collage. I have compiled some ideas on this Pinterest board and below are two ways that we introduced mandalas in our home.
Nature mandalas are such a fun way to explore all the different plants and natural materials that can be found outside. We collected a bunch of leaves, stones, pebbles, bark, flowers and buds, then spent some time sorting them and deciding what to include in our mandala. We chose a rosette-shaped succulent for the centre and then arranged our findings around it.
To see some beautiful examples of nature mandalas, check out these designs by artist, Kathy Klein.
Craft supplies mandala
Our very first attempt at a mandala was actually an impromptu creation made using some of the craft supplies we were supposed to be sorting out before we got a little distracted – oops!
We want to create our next mandala in the sandpit and then I think we might be ready to have a go at one on paper. Stay tuned!