Once when I was working on a mandala of colored stones, my 3-year-old granddaughter asked to join in. At first, she just admired the shapes and colors, but then she began to make a design, singing to herself. It was a comforting sound—to her and to me—her version of a lullaby inspired by the concentration of creating the mandala.
To make a mandala, gather objects such as stones, shells, pinecones, beach glass: anything that captures your imagination. On a flat surface, begin in the middle, arranging pieces to form the center. Sometimes I measure for symmetry, but often I just go with the flow. Continue building outward with items of different sizes and shapes. Create mandalas along themes, such as nuts or stones, or combine different materials in the same mandala.
I did not glue down my first mandalas. Glue is needed for tiny items or mandalas you want to preserve.
Nature is the ultimate mandala maker. Once you start looking, it doesn't take long to notice the patterns in natural things: