Our 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 ...
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.
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.
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.
We also used mandala pieces in this weather themed sensory tray too, as snowflakes and raindrops.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Miss 5 enjoyed making a little bed for the baby lion cub, and using the mandala pieces for food and to make little bushes.
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.
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 ❤️
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.
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.
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.
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.
Until next time, have fun learning in a playful way!
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