Thanks to Githanjali (Mother of Vedant Duvvuru, Serenity) for sharing insights and ideas on incorporating Mandala art in children’s life!
The word Mandala originates from Sanskrit and means a circle/circular form. It represents wholeness and life and can be found across many religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Native American traditions and more.
The mandala is a sacred symbol of the essence of creation as mandalas exist everywhere around us. In flowers, in tree rings, spider webs, snow flakes, in shells, the sea…literally everywhere! Anything that has a centre that radiates inside out has a sense of perfection which is referred to as Mandala.
Colouring mandalas is believed to be an excellent mindfulness practice and can be a fantastic way to create focus and concentration. So why introduce mandala art/ colouring to little kids? As Dr.Montessori spoke about the holistic development of the child, this activity, thus lends to that beautiful thought. There seems to be a threefold impact in terms of emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects which is beneficial to their overall growth. Here are some reasons why.
- Promotes hand and eye coordination and other fine motor skills
- Fosters attention and concentration because of the design intricacy
- Encourages spatial thinking and an understanding of geometric forms
- Is said to reduce stress and anxiety (something that’s even more essential during this lockdown time)
- Helps with patience and perseverance
- When the child is allowed to colour unhindered (no prompting in terms of colours or designs), it increases creativity and imagination
- Increase self-esteem and stimulates an aesthetic sense. By letting a child finish a coloring page, you let him or her feel a certain sense of accomplishment for a job well done, thus, building his or her confidence and self-esteem.
- Improves writing by reducing the possibility of incorrect pencil grasp.
Ever since the lockdown began, I have seen my son go through one mandala book after another without showing signs of getting “bored” of it. (So this article is being written after months of direct observation) You get mandala colouring books for children online and at bookstores. These would probably be best for 4 years and above because of the design templates. For toddlers who need more fluid art exploration, you can create circles of different sizes on a piece of paper and use paint brushes of varying sizes to create different sized dots or draw some basic designs they can colour. You can use fallen leaves and flowers, pebbles, dominoes, coins etc to play around with this concept if you see your child enjoying it and want to take the exploration beyond colouring pages. You can even make madala colouring a fun family activity.
Challenge how you view art and colouring. Introduce the concept of vertical art by pasting pages on safe surfaces and allowing the child to experience what vertical art feels like (very diff from horizontal art) while colouring the mandala. You can choose to play gentle music or audio stories if your child seems inclined towards it. There are so many ways of making this an enjoyable time.
I truly believe that exposure to art in any form is one of the ways we can raise a happy, healthy generation. A generation that will respect and help heal our beautiful planet.
Hope you decide to discover the magic of mandalas 😊