The word mandala is a Sanskrit term that means “circle”. Mandala patterns are everywhere in nature, in petals of a flowers and in the rings of a tree, spiderwebs and seashells. Making nature art is special because it helps us see that we can make something beautiful using just what we have in the outdoors. With this type of art, we value it just for its beauty and for the experience of making it, there is nothing to take home with us at the end.

LOCATION: a woodland or somewhere with lots of different natural materials

AGE: 4+

DEVELOPMENT: teamwork, creativity, nature connection, plant identification, communication

KIT: things found in nature

Go to a place that will provide a diverse range of materials for your child/children to explore. Tell them that we will be making a nature mandala as a gift to the forest, to thank the trees and the plants for all they do for us. Giving us clean air, food and shelter to many birds and animals.

Mark out the outline of a circle in the soil or on the ground, clearing away any leaf litter and tell everyone to go and start to gather beautiful gifts to offer to the woodland. Mark the centre of the circle with something very special like a beautiful flower. Then start to create all kinds of wonderful circles and designs emanating from the centre to the outer circle.

When everyone is finished, gather together and discuss the mandala. What was they’re favourite part, did they have a particular object that they were drawn to, etc?

Before leaving the woodland, offer the mandala to the trees and the plants and thank them for all that they do to keep us happy and healthy.