Family Bonding with Nature Mandalas

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Alright, gather the family around!  I am beyond excited to share with you my family’s experience making nature mandalas in hopes of passing along some contagious fun to your family.

Mandalas are circular patterns that radiate from a central focus point.  They use repetition of color, texture, lines, and shapes to create a delightful, sometimes meditative, pattern.  So nature mandalas, use objects from nature to create a radiating pattern.



Nature Mandala Nature Mandala

With spring in full bloom, start looking around for colorful flowers, leaves with a cool shape, or rocks with a neat texture.  Add these treasures of nature to your bag being sure to collect multiples of each.  I recommend gathering around 8-10 of each type of leaf, flower, or rock you collect, so you have enough of each to make a repeating pattern.

Parents, you may need to help define areas that are off-limits like the neighbor’s prized rose garden! We took a short bike ride to our community’s common area and found flowers, pine cones, and leaves along the creek’s edge.

After gathering your natural supplies, select your working area.  We chose a square of flat sidewalk in front of the house as our canvas.  On an adjoining square, we emptied our bags and organized our findings by color and shape into small piles, so we could easily see what we had to work with.

Nature Mandala

To start your mandala, select your centerpiece and place it in the center of your sidewalk square.  We used a bird’s nest that the neighbor had given us a few days ago.  Your centerpiece could be a large, round stone or a cluster of your favorite flowers.

Nature Mandala

Next, build your design in layers of circles around your centerpiece.  It is helpful to repeat colors, textures, or shapes in a pattern. One strategy would be to start with your smallest items in the center growing outward to your largest items.  We worked from the center out to create our design, but my niece and nephew created their out most edge early on in the process to help define their working space.

Nature Mandala  Nature Mandala Nature Mandala

These colorful and creative patterns are intended to bring joy to those who might walk by and see them, but we also experienced some unexpected benefits of family bonding!  I invited my niece and nephew a few counties away in Denver, NC to join in on the experience, so we enjoyed sharing pictures and talking on the phone about our nature mandalas.

My sister also used this as a chance to catch some great photos of the kids gathering spring flowers from the yard.

Nature Mandala
Lillie Jean Helms gathering spring flowers from the yard for her nature mandala.
Nature Mandala
Tucker Helms found a perfect addition for his nature mandala.

And Dad even jumped in helping to engineer a proper circle using string to measure that the design was even on all sides!

And lastly, making the mandalas together meant communicating and sometimes compromising.  We had to share our ideas with each other, then join some of those ideas together to make our family mandala!  This was a great experience for my family and I wish the same for yours!  Stay home, stay healthy, and keep making art!

Nature Mandala
Kristin Mitchell from Art Box Ceramics and Canvas with Alina Nero and their finished nature mandala/
Nature Mandala
Lillie Jean and Tucker Helms with their finished nature mandala in Denver, NC.
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