Get crafty and creative by creating your own calming Mandala out of readily available natural Autumn materials.
Slowing down and spending time in nature has been proven to make us feel good! Our busy lives can be stressful and tiring but when we spend quiet time in nature our minds and bodies can relax. This experience can have a powerful and positive effect on our physical, mental and emotional health!
Autumn is a wonderful time to wrap up warm and go for a wild wellbeing walk and to make an autumnal mandala. Being careful to stick to Covid-19 guidelines in your area, can you and your family go out for a walk in the fresh air and witness the lush greens of summer make their magical change to the golds, browns and reds of autumn?
Use your senses (sight, sound, touch and smell) to explore your autumnal surroundings and carefully collect fallen natural materials to take home and make an autumnal mandala. Check out our Sensory Explorers activity for tips.
A mandala is an intricate picture made on the ground and traditionally used in Tibetan Buddhist religion as a form of meditation to heal and concentrate the mind. The word “mandala” means, “circle”. These iconic shapes can be found in modern and ancient cultures across the world and are used to represent wholeness and connection to the natural world. They are often symmetrical and are made of coloured sand or natural materials.
Using fallen natural materials for your mandala can be a lovely, calming nature activity that can be done inside or out. If you don’t have an outdoor space you could draw your mandala using the natural colours of this time of year and you could copy pictures of autumnal trees and plants online.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
- Check the Covid-19 guidelines for your area.
- Your garden, local park, public woodland or nature space.
- To tune into your senses (sight, sound, smell, touch)
- Any natural materials you can find (twigs, fallen leaves, feathers, tree seeds, dry seed pods)
- A clear space on the floor or table
Autumn mandalas – step by step
1. Find your calm
In various traditions, a mandala is used to focus the mind and find a sense of peace and quiet. Before you start your mandala take a few slow, deep breaths in and out and try to still your mind from the stresses of life.
2. Careful foraging
Now that you feel calm, you can go out to collect some natural materials from your garden or outdoor space. At the time of year, plants and trees are turning from lush green in to the gold, brown and red of autumn.
Try to collect things that have already fallen to the ground and only collect things you know as many plants can sting or be poisonous. Finally, only take things that are abundant to make sure you’re not taking a creature’s food.
Consider the shape, colour and texture of the things you find. How will they look together?
3. Start at the centre
Spread out your materials to see what you have collected. A mandala often starts from the centre and moves outwards, is there something within your collection that will make a perfect centre point?
Place your item in the centre of your workspace leaving lots of room around the sides to build up your mandala.
4. Symmetrical design
From your centre point start to build up your mandala in circular layers from the middle. Mandala designs often use radial symmetry (if you cut it anywhere in the middle it will always be the same on both sides, like a cake).
Think about this when you are creating your design. Can you find leaves, twigs, flowers and feathers that are the same?
5. Redesign and remake
Mandalas by nature are temporary so make sure you take lots of photos of your creations before they’re gone. The good thing is you can redesign and remake your mandalas over and over but don’t forget to share you pictures with us.
We would love to see a picture of your mandala. Ask an adult to share with us through our social media.
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