Grapat Mandalas are very popular and due to COVID and geofencing it sells out so quick. Many shops will be restocking in early September and you may find yourself questioning if they are worth searching for. My quick answer is YES. Loose part play is a great open-ended resource and visual tool for learning. We incorporate our Mandala pieces often in our homeschool activities and add an inviting aspect to each activity. The pieces are beautiful when separated by color or mixed together in a giant basket and below I will show you a variety of ways we utilize our Grapat Mandalas.
Book Inspired Play
We often incorporate our Mandalas into book inspired play. For this example we also used our Hundred Frame and the book Neon Leon. We used our Mandalas to represent Leon’s environment and the Hundred Frame aided Lily in creating her scenes. To incorporate a fine motor skill activity Lily removed the trash from scene with tongs. Removal of the trash presented the opportunity to discuss the importance of taking care of our environment and the effects we can have on the animals around us. Lily then proceeded to create a scene that her own chameleon could blend into.
Grapat Mandalas are a great resource to utilize as a math manipulative. I believe in physically manipulating to gain a deeper understanding of concepts especially in the formative years building a math foundation. Mandalas are perfect for pattern work, counting, addition, subtraction, and more! We have particularly enjoyed our Mandala pieces in combination with these printable activities from the Etsy account JerSeaBreeze.
The use of manipulatives in teaching mathematics has a long tradition and solid research history. Manipulatives not only allow students to construct their own cognitive models for abstract mathematical ideas and processes, they also provide a common language with which to communicate these models to the teacher and other students. In addition to the ability of manipulatives to aid directly in the cognitive process, manipulatives have the additional advantage of engaging students and increasing both interest in and enjoyment of mathematics. Students who are presented with the opportunity to use manipulatives report that they are more interested in mathematics. Long-term interest in mathematics translates to increased mathematical ability (Sutton & Krueger, 2002).Sutton, J., & Krueger, A. (Eds) (2002). EDThoughts: What we know about mathematics teaching and learning. Aurora, CO: Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning.
Allowing time for independent play is benefical for children. As the term describes it helps children gain independence while also teaching children to entertain themselves. With our focus on open-ended play and resources, I want my children to express their creativity and use their imagination in play versus being entertained by structured toys. Our Grapat Mandalas have been used to fill in puzzles, as play food and to decorate trees for various seasons.
All of this to say, the possibilities are endless with Grapat Mandalas and they are worth the stress of purchasing. Check our your favorite shops to find out what they will be restocking and when. Grapat Mandalas are recommended for children ages 3 and up.