Magical Grapat Mandala! How To Make The Most Of Them

Grapat Mandala - Feature image

Grapat mandala has been one of our most significant discoveries this summer. We did have some Grapat loose parts like coins and hoops, which we used to create some designs, but we’ve upped our game with the Mandala parts. They are so beautiful to look at, to feel them, and to play with them. It is such a lovely invitation to open-ended play that we’ve played with them for hours as a family.

When we got the box, and we opened it, some family members were really puzzled. “What is this for?”. “What will you do with that?”. Of course, I only smiled and said, “You’ll see.” And at that point, I was thinking mainly of creating mandalas and designs, but I didn’t realize then that we would be using them in so many more ways.

Why do we like playing with the Grapat mandala parts?

Grapat Mandala - 2 generations

There are countless reasons why introducing these beautiful wooden loose parts to your play, but I’ve just listed my favorites:

  • Invitation to creativity
  • Open-ended play
  • Helps develop fine motor skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Counting resource
  • Pattern creation
  • Focus, awareness, and peace
  • Develops design & color sensibility
  • There is no right or wrong way to play
  • Family time together
  • Intergenerational activity

And many more!

About Grapat

Grapat Mandala - Autumn with tomtem

Joguines Grapat is a family project that came to be when the founders left the city to bring up their children in a more natural environment. They saw children’s play as a sacred moment that should not be interrupted and where adults should just take a step back and let them play at their own speeds and create their own rules. (The only rules to be set are: respect & not hurting oneself, others, the environment, the material, and the creations of others).

They believe that the game in children is like an earthquake that can not be stopped, however much we adults try with all our strength. Their wooden toys come without instructions and as an invitation to let free play, without the time and slowly. You can learn more about them on their website.

They are also from my homeland, and I was so surprised to discover them 3 years ago when living in the UK, not having heard of them when I was back home (2 years before). They are doing a fantastic job and also being completely plastic-free. These beautiful creations are conquering hearts all around the world, and we are not surprised. They are magical!

Our Grapat Mandala collection

Grapat Mandala - Collection

Each Grapat Mandala box comes with 36 pieces, generally with 12 pieces of the same shade (except the Rainbow eggs where we have 3 of each of the 12 colors).

  • Yellow Honeycombs
  • Green Trees
  • Pink Flowers
  • Blue Waterdrops
  • Red Fire
  • Blue small coins
  • White & Light blue Snowflakes
  • Pink Flower Petals
  • Yellow & Brown Mushrooms
  • Orange Cones
  • Green Cones
  • Rainbow eggs
  • Purple Pinecones

How we play

Grapat Mandala - making of 2

What is fantastic about these tiny loose parts is that it invites too many ways to play with them. I’m sure we’ll come up with new ways to play with them the more we spend time with them.

Grapat Mandalas

Grapat Mandala - Autumn set of 4 1

A mandala is considered a symbol of the cosmos or universe for many Buddhists and Hindus. Traditionally the mandala is a square containing a circle that has a colorful, detailed, symmetrical, geometrical, and balanced design or pattern. The word mandala actually means “circle” in Sanskrit.

Some spiritual traditions use mandalas for meditation or for marking a spiritual space. Some people help them to work, reduce anxiety, stress and meditate. Traditional Mandalas may have a therapeutic effect on them.

At home, we just have fun unlinked to the spirituality or religiousness of what traditional mandalas are. Creating mandalas with loose parts helps us focus on detail, develop patterns, exercise fine motor skills, and create beautiful designs that we enjoy making together. Like the Indian Rangoli, it reminds us that beauty and time fly, and nothing is permanent. And even if it doesn’t last, we feel great after having spent a lovely time making them in each other’s company.

We bought some wooden dishes, and we used them as platforms to create our circle mandalas. I also enjoy pairing the mandala parts with loose wooden parts like hoops of different sizes.

And sometimes one creates a design and the other replicates as we go:

Grapat Mandala - Designing forest flower work in progress copy

Creative designs with Grapat

Contrary to mandalas, these designs are not supposed to be symmetrical. Instead, we have fun creating random flowers, rainbows, playing with colors, creating scenes, animals or objects. The only limit is clearly your imagination.

Mosaic animals and designs

Now, this is something we’ve had a lot of fun doing this summer. First, we created an animal with the Grimm’s semicircles, and then we added a lot of mandala parts to decorate it and make it even more beautiful. Since then, we’ve created fish, birds, bugs, jellyfish, elephants, and even mermaids. They look so wonderful, and we felt so satisfied once they were done.

Small worlds play

We have fun creating and imagining worlds around our cities and roads. (I must admit I really enjoy decorating the way to play road – too much, maybe). We create forests, lakes, rivers, and gardens filled with flowers. It involves a lot of patience, and it is so much fun to play.

Pretend play

My son has become a fantastic loose part chef this summer 😉 We enjoy pretending they are food. His favorite: serving the orange cones as carrots!

Counting games

Grapat Mandala - Counting 1 to 8 with hand copy

The loose parts are great for counting.

Even last night, my daughter wasn’t thrilled with dinner – it turned out quite a dense vegetable soup. For each spoonful, I gave her one loose part. She was happy to see at the end how many she had managed to amass.

Color sorting games

When they are at that stage in their twos, where color sorting is a challenge, you can use the tiny bits to play to make it more fun. From asking them to group them into specific colors, matching them to the Grimms Rainbow, or putting them in the mini Bilibos… it can be great fun!

Pattern sequencing and placing activities

We’ve been playing placing objects on lines, either color themed or with patterns. It has been a fun activity that has kept them entertained for long bits.

Stacking

Now, this is entirely new for us! My husband started stacking the pineapples last week, and we have gone crazy. He managed to stack 10! My daughter managed to stack 7 (in the picture).

Grapat Mandala - Pineapple tower 2

And after that, this is something that we’ve been playing with all week. Our latest challenge: stacking 😉

Where to buy them?

Grapat Mandala - Shopping copy

If you want to buy Grapat Mandala loose parts you will most likely find them in toy shops with open-ended toys or Waldorf and Montessori style toy stores. Probably in the biggest city near you, you might have some that you can go in and explore.

If that were not the case there, luckily, there are online stores where you’ll be able to find them. Unfortunately, it is not listed on Amazon… but I am sharing other web pages I have bought from while living in the UK and in Spain (some are local, but others have international deliveries). Additionally, although I haven’t been there, from their IG and from IG accounts of people living there, I will also recommend Australia and the US (based on their comments and opinions).

Store with International deliveries

  • Babipur.co.uk – You’ll even find a whole Grapat section on their site, and they deliver worldwide. But Grapat items can’t be sent everywhere – so you must check with them if they are sent to your country.
  • Oskar’s Wooden Ark – They are based in Australia, and they also provide international shipping to selected countries (New Zealand; United States; Canada, Singapore & South Korea) using Australia Post.

Store with delivery in the UK

  • Babipur – of course, you have Babipur. They are from the U.K., and you’ll find all the Grapat Mandala pieces here.

Stores with delivery in Spain and Portugal

  • Jugar i jugar – Their toy portfolio is beautiful. It’s been my favourite option lately if you are in Spain. Their customer service is great. If you purchase before 2pm, you get your delivery the next day.
  • mumuchu.com – Also a very nice online store; however, unfortunately only local.

Store with delivery in the USA

  • Bella Luna Toys – They have a wide selection of Grapat toys and most of the Mandalas. I’ve never ordered with them (I haven’t been in the US since I’ve had children), but they seem very nice, have a lovely online store, and have excellent customer reviews.

Store with delivery in Australia & New Zealand.

  • Oskar’s Wooden Ark – Here is another passionate Grapat bunch. Based in Australia, they also provide international shipping to selected countries (New Zealand; United States; Canada, Singapore & South Korea) using Australia Post.
  • Little Toy Tribe – Is a small family-owned business from Brisbane. They are currently shipping orders within Australia through their website. If you are from New Zealand, contact them through email with the list of what you’d like, and they’ll send a shipping quote. 

Store with delivery in Malaysia

  • Bueno Blocks – Bueno Blocks has an impressive range of Grapat toys. They are a very kind family-owned business that wishes to bring these toys to families in Malaysia.

Why you should add Grapat mandala toys to your playtime

Grapat Mandala - Plane design mess 2

The loose parts from the mandala collection from Grapat have opened a new way to play at home. We had never done mandalas before, and now we do them more often than I would have thought. It’s a great creative outlet with great benefits for us.

Sometimes we sit as a family and each of us starts working on a mandala, a design, or stacking while we just talk about the day, feelings, or things that we want to share. It is a really sweet moment and I feel it is also helping us connect (my son usually waits until we finish so he can smash everything).

And as you have seen, it is also a fantastic complement to other toys – like the Grimms Rainbow or the way to play road. Using it for small world play is great and it makes everything more beautiful.

Finally, it is a great resource for counting, color activities, and more. Honestly, we love it. I wish I had discovered them earlier with my daughter because I know she would have really enjoyed playing and learning with them.

I hope you will have liked our ideas and how we play. So please share with us your ideas, how you play with them and what your thoughts are! We’d love to know!

Happy playing! *

P.S. Oh! And if you liked the ideas in this post, you might like the following posts as well 😉

Ways to Play with Grapat Loose Parts

Grapat Stacking Challenges

+75 Ways to Play with Grimm's Rainbow

7 thoughts on “Magical Grapat Mandala! How To Make The Most Of Them”

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  6. Hello! Loving these articles!
    Open ended toys are so versatile and lovely.
    Would love to know where you purchased your wooden plate set from that you display your Mandalas and others wooden treasures on. Thank you kindly.
    (We are in the United States)

    1. Hi Emily!
      I’m so happy you like the articles 😀
      The plates I bought in Barcelona in a “dollar shop” type of place. They are typical for a Spanish dish called “pulpo a la gallega” and can be easily found in Spain. They are about 11 inches wide.
      If you are not planning on visiting Spain soon, you might be able to find some wooden dishes or trays in a local shop, or home decor store 😉 I have many trays from Zara Home and Ikea 😉 I hope this helps
      Thank you!!

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