Yesterday it snowed all day, and we ended up with almost a foot of snow. Today it’s in the mid-50s, and the snow in our yard is rapidly melting. The bright sun shining makes today a perfect day for painting snow mandalas.
I made one container of each primary color: red, blue, and yellow. This allowed my boys to experiment with color mixing and creation. In addition to learning about primary and secondary colors, snow painting fosters all sorts of other learning. Making art that can be as big as our whole yard fosters creativity by giving my kids a large, open canvas to work with. It allows them to practice critical thinking skills as they figure out what may or may not work well in this particular medium.
Art is important as it works both sides of the brain: drawing in both right-brain creativity and the left-brain logic. My boys develop motor skills as they work with a paint brush and perceptual abilities as they try to replicate various shapes. Importantly, art allows my boys to express their feelings in ways that they may not be able to put into words. Finally, it’s just fun. My boys can fling or throw paint outside in ways that wouldn’t be appropriate inside the house.
Working on a large, outdoor canvas that may disappear by the end of the day, is reminiscent of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of making sand mandalas. While we didn’t perform a ceremony around the melting/dismantling of our paintings, it’s still a good reminder of the transitory nature of material life.
It’s a simple project, but I highly recommend painting your own snow mandalas the next time it snows. It’s fun for kids of all ages, and the results are lovely.