What is a mandala?  The word mandala is derived from a Sanskrit word meaning “circle.”  Mandalas are found in different cultures and contain  special or even spiritual symbols. There are many beautiful mandalas!  As an art form, it was fun to introduce the mandala craft to our children!

Introduction:  Explain to the children that mandalas are special circles that have unique meanings to each artist.  Mandalas can use different colors, but they all have something in common:  RADIAL SYMMETRY.  Mandala art begins with a central point and all other lines/colors/symbols radiate out from that central place.

There are several great videos on Radial Symmetry; here are two we used with our own children.

Our kids were amazed with the second video!  We had lots of “OOOOOooo’s” and “ahhhhhh’s” – looking at radial symmetry in MOTION really is pretty awesome!

Human Mandala – have the children form one big circle.  Choose one child to sit in the middle of the circle.  Ask the children to lie down with their feet all pointed to the child in the center of the circle.   Explain how each child’s body then “radiates” out from the center child.  Each child is different, but the body patterns away from the center child (feet to the top of the head) are the SAME.

Fall Thankful Mandalas

Have the children sit together as a group and close their eyes.  Ask the children to think of things that they are thankful for.  As the children open their eyes, chart some of the answers the children give.  Some of the ideas our own children had were:  God, Family, Toys:), Friends, Food, Kitties, Pets, Dogs, the Park, and the Library.

Making the Mandala – Prior to the craft, cut circles from any paper for each of the children.  Have the children fold the circles in half (for very young children, make dots on the top and bottom of the circle and ask them to “match” the dots.)  The children should then fold their circles in half one more time (see photo below).

Have the children decorate the 4 sections of their mandala using fall items or items from nature walks.  We used fabric leaves and foam stickers for our own classroom craft.

The children can write/copy/or stamp “thankful words” so that they radiate out from the center of their mandalas (see photo below).

Creating the Fall Mandalas can be a great way to create a mood of “thankfulness” at home or in the classroom!

For more ideas, see the Thanksgiving category at The Preschool Toolbox Blog!

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