How to Play with Grapat Mandalas Loose Parts
We see a lot of questions about the Grapat Mandala pieces and Loose Parts Play. When can kids start playing with them? What sets should I get first? How many do they need? How do kids play with them?
Photo via @jesspartyof4
When can kids start playing with them?
First things first - Safety! - the Grapat Mandala kits are rated for ages 3+. They are small pieces and are a choking hazard for younger kids. If you are looking for loose parts that smaller children can safely play with I recommend the Grapat rings, coins, and nins. Plus these can be combined with the mandala pieces once your children are a little older for even more fun and possibilities.
Grapat Loose Parts Play by @nester.wanders
What sets should I get first?
There are currently 9 different mandala sets, which can be a LOT to start with. Pictured below are 8 of the 9 - yellow honeycombs, pink flowers, brown mushrooms, blue raindrops, green cones, red pines, orange cones, and purple eggs. Missing are the blue coins.
Photo of Grapat Mandala sets by @nester.wanders
If you are just starting out, I recommend getting:
- blue raindrops
- green cones
- pink flowers or purple eggs
- yellow honeycombs
It'll give you a variety of colours and shapes, plus they come with some built in building and play options. The green cones + pink / purple can make flowers. The blue can be rain or water droplets.
Plus if you have some rings and coins the possibilities are endless!
Photo of Grapat Mandala Play Ideas by @nester.wanders
How many do I need?
The Mandala sets each come with 36 pieces - 12 of each of the three shades in the set. Over 9 sets that can be a LOT of little pieces.
Some people will buy several/all the sets and then split the sets amongst several sets of friends. It can be difficult to know in advance what toys your kids will actually like to play with and splitting sets can let you test the waters without having to commit to a huge amount.
Personally, I prefer the full sets. It allows me to build more and larger patterns since I have all the shades and shapes.
My eldest regularly pulls out our Grapat Mandala pieces to build patterns. It helps him find a place of calm and stillness when he's overwhelmed and having trouble regulating. And do you know what I've learned from watching him? It helps me too!
That's right, these are definitely a toy that is much fun for the adults as the kids.
What are some Play Ideas?
- Colour sorting
- Pattern matching and extension
- Mandala building
- Create scenes
- Calm down / Self-regulation play
- Small world play (use them along with other open-ended toys)
Scene built from Grapat Mandala kits by @jesspartyof4
Flowers built using Grapat Mandala kits - green cones, blue raindrops, purple eggs, yellow honeycombs, red pines, pink flowers plus Grimms natural stacking bowls - by @jesspartyof4
Loose Parts Play with Colour Wheel, showing how you can incorporate the rings and coins and nins and gnomes by @nester.wanders
And sometimes I simply display our Grapat Mandala pieces because they are simple and beautiful to look at.
Photo of Grapat Mandala pieces in a bowl made from repurposed t-shirts via @tinyhumanhouse