Petal Mandalas – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Petal Mandalas

Children will use flower petals and other colorful materials to create mandalas and different unique patterns. This activity provides an opportunity for early math learning about quantity, patterns, and shapes.

Materials Required

  • Clear contact paper cut into a large rectangle (one per child)
  • Scissors
  • White construction paper cut into a large circle (one per child)
  • Collected or purchased flower petals, blades of grass, or any other flat materials that will stick to contact paper (e.g. construction paper, tissue paper, ribbon, or wrapping paper)


  1. Show children examples of mandalas and explain to them that a mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning circle, and it usually refers to a geometric image.
  2. Pass out one white, circular piece of construction paper to each child. Invite the children to create a pattern or design on top of the paper using the petals, grass, or other provided materials.
  3. Press the sticky side of the contact paper onto the mandala. Have children use their fingers and hands to press down all over the paper, making sure the items are secure.
  4. There will be some contact paper hanging over the edges of the mandala. Let children choose if they want to fold the excess onto the back of the mandala, or use scissors to cut it off.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  1. For younger children, introduce the concept of a mandala through visual arts and math. With older children, consider investigating the cultural significance of mandalas within Buddhist and Hindu traditions.
  2. Journey to a nearby garden or outdoor space. Invite children to explore the garden and share what they see/smell/hear/feel. When all the children have had a chance to explore the garden, invite them to collect any fallen petals or leaves that they find interesting. 
  3. Prompt children’s creativity by providing real-life examples of mandalas. Inspire them by sharing the work of a specific artist, like Lori Schouela.

Links to Creativity

Creativity often follows on the coattails of experience and mastery. Pattern recognition can help us acquire mastery in a given domain, and precedes our desire to create our own patterns (Tweney, 1996). When engrossing themselves in mandala creation, our artists (the children) are likely to first imitate the patterns of others. Eventually, they’ll gain the confidence and self-expression to develop their own design (for more on the human value of imitation, see Meltzoff & Moore, 1983)

Supporting research includes:

Meltzoff, A. N., & Moore, M. K. (1983). Newborn infants imitate adult facial gestures. Child Development, 54(3), 702-709.

Tweney, R. D. (1996). Presymbolic processes in scientific creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 9(2-3), 163-172.


This activity was contributed by the Bay Area Discovery Museum. ©2017 Bay Area Discovery Museum. For more information and resources see

Petal Mandalas

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