Lately, I have been playing around with watercolors and crayons to explore different activities that could be used in small group counseling. Two of my favorites are the watercolor affirmation activity and the secret message closing activity. For the more artistic and introspective students, I thought it would be fun to create a mandala using these supplies! Below you’ll find instructions for a watercolor mandala activity that is perfect for your small group counseling or individual counseling.
What is a mandala?
According to Mandala Project, Mandala is Sanskrit for “circle” and represents wholeness and the organization of life. Creating a mandala is said to be a representation of feelings and inner self concept. It is a great tool for centering oneself during meditation and creating space for introspection. If you want to read more about the use of mandalas in therapy, check out this article from Psychology Today.
What you’ll need:
- card stock paper
- white crayons
- watercolor paint
How to do it:
- Review what a mandala is: a symmetrical design about a central focal point that represents wholeness and the self. Explain to students that they will begin with a circle and can then draw their own symmetrical design around that central circle. Show a few examples of simple and intricate mandalas.
- Give students white, heavy card stock paper and white crayons.
- Students will use white crayons to draw their mandalas on the white paper. Some students may way to sketch their mandalas with pencil on a scrap piece of paper to get an idea of the central focal point and the design, and that’s okay!
- Encourage students to pay attention to their thoughts, feelings, and reactions as they draw the mandalas.
- Students will then use watercolors to paint over the mandala and reveal their crayon drawings, again paying attention to their own experiences as the mandala is revealed.
- Give students time to sit back an focus on the mandalas they have created. Let them reflect on their feelings and experiences and share as they are willing.
When to use it:
- in small groups focusing on mindfulness or stress reduction
- with individuals working on self regulation
- with individuals or groups who will enjoy exploring their emotions through creative expression
My favorite way to use it:
I like to play calming music quietly while students work. Some groups enjoy doing a guided mindfulness exercise as they look at and reflect on their mandalas while others simply like to reflect on their own. For a guided mindfulness exercise, calmly bring students’ attention to the central focal point. Lead them to notice their feelings and reactions as they explore the other designs of their mandalas.
Do you have a favorite mandala activity to use in school counseling? Let me know in the comments!