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  • Writer's pictureOur Playful Learning Journey

Loose Parts Play Ideas - Ways We Play With Our Grapat Mandala Pieces

From small worlds, to using them with playdough, read on to see some of the fun ways we play with our Grapat mandala pieces ...

Grapat mandala pieces and lucite cubes made into pretty flowers
Pretty Grapat mandala flowers

Loose parts, such as the Grapat mandala pieces, offer so much potential for play and learning through play, as there are endless possibilities for their use. A little imagination and creativity allows the magic of this open-ended toy to appear.

We enjoy using the mandala pieces in lots of different ways, so I decided to write a second blog post about them. You can read the first blog post: Loose Parts Play-Based Learning: Ways to use Grapat Mandala here.

Keep reading to find out some of they ways these beautiful loose parts have been used in the recent months.

* Please note- all play ideas were supervised by an adult. The small parts used in these ideas are recommended for ages 3+ as they are a choking hazard.

Ways We Play with Our Grapat Mandala Pieces

Small World Play

The Grapat mandala pieces are perfect as little props for small world play. In this garden themed small world, Miss 5 used the mandala pieces to make her garden full of flowers and plants. She even enjoyed decorating the tree house for pretend unicorn wedding!

The beautiful pink mandala flower pictured below was even made by Miss 5. She has watched me create flowers with the mandala pieces before. This is why I take the time to model the possibilities of our open-ended toys, as it often sparks imagination during independent play.

Grapat mandala pieces and Grimms pastel buttons used to create a pretend garden during small world play.
A pretty garden made during small world play.

Imaginative Play

Loose parts are perfect for imaginative play. Here Miss 5 used the Grapat rainbow egg mandala pieces, some lucite cubes, pom poms and teddy bears as pretend food for the unicorns living in the village. Below you will also see the mandala pieces being used as a forest for some dinosaurs.

With a little imagination, loose parts can become anything.

Grapat mandala pieces and other loose parts as pretend food in imaginative play for children
Mandala pieces and felt balls as food in unicorn land

Grapat mandala pieces being used in children's imaginative play as a pretend forest for dinosaurs.
Mandala pieces as a forest for the dinosaurs.

Sensory Play Tray

The yellow honeycomb mandala pieces are fantastic for pretend honeycomb pieces or mini beehives.

Here we added them into a tray with some dinosaur pasta (that had fallen out of the pantry onto the floor), and our bee hives and bees for a fun sensory play tray.

Yellow honeycomb Grapat mandala pieces used in a sensory play tray for kids.
A very yellow bee themed sensory tray!

We also used mandala pieces in this weather themed sensory tray too, as snowflakes and raindrops.

Grapat mandala pieces in a kids sensory play tray that is weather themed.
Weather themed sensory tray using mandala pieces as snow and rain.

Mandala Mindfulness Time

Another fun way to use the mandala pieces - for making mandalas! This was a mandala creation by Miss 5 using the Grapat petal mandala pieces, some felt balls, bees and pieces of a Grimms pastel mandala puzzle. She made this herself, while I also made my own mandala.

Mindfulness mandala made using some Grapat mandala pieces and loose parts
Mindfulness mandala making time for kids

Invitation To Play

Setting up the mandala pieces on a tray, or on the floor is an inviting way to encourage some creative play time.

In this first tray we used the Grapat nesting rings, rainbow mandala eggs, and a couple of Grimms natural bowls. Miss 5 enjoyed making a fairy garden.

Grapat rainbow egg and Grapat rainbow nesting rings invitation to play for children in a tray.
Rainbow egg invitation to play in a tray.

This was another invitation to play set up on the floor in a nice sunny spot. It ended up being played with as a dinosaur house with the magnetic tiles. The mandala pieces were plants in the a garden.

Invitation to play for children using Grapat mandala pieces and Gluskafer rainbow slats.
An invitation to create on the dining room floor.

Dinosaur house made from Connetix magnetic tiles and Grapat mandala pieces for an imaginary garden.
Dinosaur land and garden full of mandala pieces.

Mindful Play Mats

Using our mindful play mats (free for email list subscribers) is a fun way to play with the Grapat mandala pieces. Here Miss 5 used the rainbow printable to make a colourful rainbow. After she did this, she used watercolour paints to paint the rainbow.

You can read more about our mindful play mats here + how to get your own free copy.

Free printable rainbow play mat for children being used with Grapat mandala pieces to create a rainbow.
Using the rainbow play mat is a fun way to play with the Grapat mandala pieces.

Invitation to Play with Playdough

Another way we have used our Grapat mandala pieces is with playdough. Here is an invitation to play that I set up for Miss 5. I used blue and green mandala pieces, with some leaves, natural coloured playdough and animal figurines.

Playdough invitation to play for kids with Grapat mandala loose parts, animal figurines and leaves.
A playdough invitation to play.

Miss 5 enjoyed making a little bed for the baby lion cub, and using the mandala pieces for food and to make little bushes.

Playdough invitation to play for kids with Grapat mandala loose part pieces and animals figurines.
This invittion was enjoyed by Miss 5.

Cake Making

The mandala pieces are the perfect thing to pretend to decorate a cake! Here are some pretend cakes that Miss 5 and I decorated using the mandala pieces. We used rings off the Grimms pastel stacker and some of our Grapat nesting bowls as bases for the cake.

Miss 5 enjoyed carefully making a double layered cake with mandala pieces in between layers and on the top too.

Imaginative play time with open ended toys - Cake making with Grapat mandala pieces.
Pretend cake making using the mandala pieces

Miss 5 and I made this big birthday cake using our open ended toys.

Miss 5 enjoyed decorating the cake using our Grapat mandala pieces and some crystal chips. She then turned it into a hotel, adding people and some animals into the magnetic tile layer. Hotel birthday cake was a great place to stay. The Nins had a great time celebrating.

I love our open ended toys because they can become anything ❤️

Grimms rainbow made into a rainbow birthday cake with Grapat mandala pieces for decorations.
A birthday cake hotel using our Grimms rainbow and Grapat mandala pieces.

Invitation to Create

This little invitation to create was enjoyed by Miss 5 who used the mandala pieces to create a little mandala. She then used the cardboard circles to draw on with some crayons. I set this up for her to play with no expectation of what she would do with it.

Invitation to create for kids with Grapat mandala pieces for loose parts play.
An invitation to create with rainbow mandala pieces.

Tea Party Play

Loose parts, like the mandala pieces, make the perfect pretend food for a tea party. Here our mandala pieces became food on plates for a little party. Number coins became biscuits and there was also some slices of cake.

Grapat mandala pieces being used as pretend food for a picnic. Loose parts play for kids.
An imaginary tea party using the mandala pieces as food.

Creative Play Time with your Child

This was a fun creation Miss 5 and I made on the dining room floor. I put some of our toys on the floor and started creating a picture. Miss 5 joined in and created with the mandala pieces and then used this creation as an Easter egg hunt in the garden for some of her figurines.

A beautiful flatlay created using the Grimms large rainbow and Grapat mandala pieces.
A beautiful rainbow garden!

Happy Playing!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the ways we have played with our Grapat mandala pieces.

There are so many possibilities for play and learning! I hope you enjoy watching your child explore the many ways to create and explore with loose parts. You may even join in too! I find that modelling simple ways to play with them, helps children to see some of the infinite possibilities for play.

Grapat mandala pieces in a tray to invite play.
Some Grapat mandala pieces in a tray to invite play!

Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way!

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