When I started exploring the eco and Montessori side of parenting, I kept coming across Grapat mandala pieces and mandalas in general. I was stunned at how beautiful some of the creations I found were, and it wasn’t long before I wanted to create my own.
On the whole, mandalas are symbols that are often closely linked to roots in Buddhism and Hinduism. Mandalas themselves (and the creation of mandalas), are regularly associated with a sense of wholeness, feeling grounded, healing, self-expression, and stress relief.
Much like meditation for children and adults alike, creating a mandala can have many benefits.
The most popular mandala pieces I’ve come across are the gorgeous wooden Grapat mandala pieces. Grapat literally means ‘handful’ in Catalan and the company is a small, Spanish, family-run business. The sets come in sets of 36 or more, and in a wide range of shapes and colours. I started off by ordering myself a set of little green trees and instantly fell in love with them. They feel lovely to hold, and you can see the natural grain of the wood under the paint. When they first arrived, I spent half an hour just lining them up, holding them, and rearranging them. Not a mandala in sight, but still a calming half an hour for me!
I have since started to grow my collection, and am now the proud owner of Grapat trees, raindrops, honeycombs, and mushrooms. Recently, I’ve been making sure to carve out a bit of time in the evenings to unwind by creating a mandala with my lovely pieces. For me, the process allows me to decompress after a busy day. There’s something immensely satisfying about starting a mandala and just seeing what you end up with – I’ve never ended up with the same thing twice!
My mandala pieces are undeniably my toys, rather than my children’s… however, as soon as my twins are old enough to play with the pieces without them being a choking hazard, I will introduce them to this wonderful task. The pieces are brilliant open ended toys which fits perfectly with Montessori principles. I’ve seen many photos of lovely designs that children have made, and am sure that my children will get some benefit from it!
Grapat have an Instagram account that’s brilliant for inspiration: @joguines_grapat and I have bought all of my current sets from Babipur – a family owned business in Wales, focusing on ethical parenting!