Mandalas for relaxing
Do you know what mandalas are? These designs that are made up of geometric shapes with multiple possibilities have sparked an interest in both young and old over time. When I was looking for a way to calm my own mind, I discovered mandalas. They were a real revelation. Since that day, my book of mandalas and coloring pencils are always on my night stand. They are my weapon against insomnia.
Slowly, my children became curious about my colourful “masterpieces”. They also became interested in mandalas, even my oldest son who is not a fan of coloring and arts & crafts in general. That is what led me to research the topic and discover the numerous benefits associated with the use of mandalas for both children and adults.
What is a mandala?
The word “mandala” means “centre” and “circle”. They are diagrams made up of various shapes organized around a centre. Mandalas are used as a meditation tool in various traditions. The first mandalas were made of colourful sand. Once a mandala was complete, people would blow on it to displace the tiny grains of sand and erase it. The goal was to remind individuals how, in life, nothing is permanent, everything tends towards change. What a beautiful life lesson!
Why should you use mandalas with children?
Contrary to what you may think, mandalas represent a great tool to help children direct their energy and refocus. Many children need moments such as the ones created when coloring mandalas to pay attention to the present moment and calm down. Young children need us to provide tools to help them control their energy level. Certain children who have special needs have a great deal of difficulty channelling their energy and being calm can be a real challenge for them, but also a necessity. Mandalas can represent a great tool for these little ones. Believe me, mandalas can in fact be quite interesting for all…
How can you use them?
Mandalas can be used in their simplest form. Provide paper, coloring pages, and crayons. That’s really all you need to do. However, with children, you may have to use certain strategies to ensure their interest is maintained. Here are a few ideas.
Finding mandalas: Mandalas are easy to find all over the Web. Many book stores sell books filled with mandalas. An entire section is available in the Educatall club. Print various mandalas linked to children’s interests.
A bin for everyone: Insert several different printed mandalas and crayons in a bin. Set this bin in your manipulation area and encourage children to explore its contents whenever your feel they need to calm down.
Portable clipboards: I really like this idea. Purchase several inexpensive clipboards. Show children how they can insert a mandala under the clip and select a few crayons. This will make it possible for them to color mandalas anywhere. For example, they can carry their clipboard to their naptime mattress or use it in the calm area, on a chair, on a cushion, etc. Keep in mind that children must physically feel comfortable when coloring their mandala to reap the psychological benefits of this activity.
Reuse your mandalas: Just as sand-based mandalas are easily “erased”, you can laminate your mandalas and let children color them with washable or dry-erase markers. When they are done, children can simply wipe the markings away.
Creating a calm atmosphere: Whenever you use mandalas, be sure to create a calming atmosphere. Turn the lights down, play soft music, etc. You may also ask children to color their mandalas in silence. Remaining perfectly silent will represent a challenge for most children, but silence will foster interiorization and help them focus.
Numbered mandalas: Children may need guidance when using mandalas. To help them, you can number the different parts of each mandala with a number between 1 and 10. To begin, children color all the sections containing a “1”, followed by the parts containing a “2” and so on.
Color by number: Another great way to explore mandalas is to present them as color by number activities. Create a legend using numbers 1 to 5 and associate a different color to each number. Write these same numbers within the various mandala sections.
SEVERAL MANADALAS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE EDUCATALL CLUB.
Maude Dubé, Specialized educator