Japanese Gardens, or zen gardens, use natural materials like rocks, moss, and shrubbery to mimic the natural world in soothing designs. Your child can benefit from working in their very own zen garden with just a few materials to get started!
To create a small tabletop garden, find an appropriately sized tray or box top for your table space. A tray with steep sides and handles works great to allow your child to work with their garden at any time, but contain the sand and decrease mess.
Here are some common objects found in Japanese gardens that you can purchase in a craft department, pet supplies store or in your backyard!
- Rocks of varying size, shape, and color
- Moss, like the kind used for fairy gardens
- Rakes (forks!) or twigs for creating designs
Less is more for your tabletop garden. Introduce a flat sand surface to your child and explore the designs you can make with a special tiny rake, a fork, or a twig. Mimic the flowing lines of water, like a river running all through your garden.
Next, let your child place rocks or moss around the garden in different arrangements. Part of this experience is also feeling the different textures of sand, rock, and moss!
If possible, keep the zen garden in a place where your child can access it at any time. During the summer, consider expanding your zen garden out of doors and adding larger plants and real rakes!
A Japanese Garden is not only a great sensory experience for children, it’s also a calming meditative activity that doesn’t require too many materials or upkeep. A few simple, natural materials can help create a wonderful learning experience for your child!
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