We are excited to introduce our guest blogger Silvia, known as @thefairyglitchmother, who writes about open-ended play on her blog and shares so beautifully her story about discovering Grapat Mandala and how they play at home.
Bueno Blocks offers the full range of Grapat Mandalas. You may be interested in Grapat Mandala with Tinker Tray set that includes most mandala pieces.
Grapat mandala pieces have been one of our most significant discoveries this summer. We did have some Grapat loose parts like coins and rings, which we used to create some designs, but we've upped our game with the Mandala parts. They are beautiful to look at, feel, and play with them. It is such a lovely invitation to open-ended play that we've played with them for hours as a family.
When we got the box, and we opened it, some family members were really puzzled. "What is this for?". "What will you do with that?". Of course, I only smiled and said, "You'll see." At that point, I was thinking mainly of creating mandalas and designs, but I didn't realize then that we would be using them in so many more ways.
Why do we like playing with the Grapat mandala parts?
There are countless reasons why introducing these beautiful wooden loose parts to your play, but I've just listed my favorites:
- Invitation to creativity
- Open-ended play
- It helps develop fine motor skills
- Counting resource
- Pattern creation
- Focus, awareness, and peace
- Develops design & color sensibility
- There is no right or wrong way to play
- Family time together
- Intergenerational activity
And many more!
Joguines Grapat is a family project that came to be when the founders left the city to bring up their children in a more natural environment. They saw children's play as a sacred moment that should not be interrupted and where adults should just take a step back and let them play at their own speeds and create their own rules. (The only rules to be set are: respect & not hurting oneself, others, the environment, the material, and the creations of others).
They believe that the game in children is like an earthquake that can not be stopped, however much we adults try with all our strength. Their wooden toys come without instructions and as an invitation to let free play, without the time and slowly. You can learn more about them on their website.
They are doing a fantastic job and also being completely plastic-free. These beautiful creations are conquering hearts worldwide, and we are not surprised. They are magical!
Our Grapat Mandala collection
Each Grapat Mandala box comes with 36 pieces, generally with 12 pieces of the same shade (except the rainbow eggs where we have 3 of each of the 12 colors).
- Blue Little Coins
- Red Fire
- Green Cones
- Yellow Honeycomb
- Brown Mushrooms
- Pink Flowers
- Blue Raindrops
- Orange Cones
- Green Trees
- Flower Petals
- Rainbow Eggs
We are missing purple eggs and grey stones... we hope to expand to these two soon 😉
How we play
What is fantastic about these tiny loose parts is that it invites too many ways to play with them. I'm sure we'll come up with new ways to play with them the more we spend time with them.
A mandala is considered a symbol of the cosmos or universe for many Buddhists and Hindus. Traditionally the mandala is a square containing a circle that has a colorful, detailed, symmetrical, geometrical, and balanced design or pattern. The word mandala actually means "circle" in Sanskrit.
At home, we just have fun unlinked to the spirituality or religiousness of traditional mandalas. Creating mandalas with loose parts helps us focus on detail, develop patterns, exercise fine motor skills, and create beautiful designs that we enjoy making together. Like the Indian Rangoli, it reminds us that beauty and time fly, and nothing is permanent. And even if it doesn't last, we feel great after having spent a lovely time making them in each other's company.
We bought some wooden dishes and used them as platforms to create our circle mandalas. I also enjoy pairing the mandala parts with loose wooden pieces like rings of different sizes.
Mosaic animals and designs
Now, this is something we've had a lot of fun doing this summer. First, we created an animal with the Grimm's semicircles, and then we added a lot of mandala parts to decorate it and make it even more beautiful. Since then, we've created fish, birds, bugs, jellyfish, elephants, and even mermaids. They look so wonderful, and we felt so satisfied once they were done. Here you have 3 of our favorites.
My son has become a fantastic loose part chef this summer 😉 We enjoy pretending they are food. His favorite: serving the orange cones as carrots!
Now, this was the latest way to play for us! My husband started stacking the pineapples a couple months ago, and we have gone crazy. He managed to stack 10! My daughter managed to stack 7 (in the picture).
And after that, this is something that we've been playing with all week. Our latest challenge: stacking 😉
This past week, I tried to balance a Grimm's ball on a Grapat cone and it snowballed into a Grapat stacking challenge on Instagram. It has been so much fun and we've ended up creating things we didn't think were possible. Check out #grapatstackingchallange and you'll be surprised.
Why you should add Grapat mandala toys to your playtime
The loose parts from the mandala collection from Grapat have opened a new way to play at home. We had never done mandalas before, and now we do them more often than I would have thought. It's a great creative outlet with great benefits for us.
Sometimes we sit as a family, and each starts working on a mandala, a design, or stacking while we just talk about the day, feelings, or things that we want to share. It is a lovely moment, and I feel it is also helping us connect (my son usually waits until we finish so he can smash everything).
These are just some ideas of playing and enjoying Grapat mandala pieces. You can head to view the full post with more images and ideas.
You will see how it is also a fantastic complement to other toys - like the Grimm's Rainbow or the waytoplay road. So using it for small world play is excellent, and it makes everything more beautiful.
Finally, it is a great resource for colour activities, counting, and more. Honestly, we love it. I wish I had discovered them earlier with my daughter because I know she would have really enjoyed playing and learning with them sooner.
I hope you like our ideas and how we play. So please share with us your ideas, how you play with them and what your thoughts are! We'd love to know!
Happy playing! *
Sylvia - @thefairyglitchmother
Bueno Blocks offers the full range of Grapat loose parts. You may be interested in Grapat Mandala with Tinker Tray set that includes most mandala pieces.