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We went on a backyard and nature walk to collect some natural items found in nature (and in our garden) to make a nature mandala.

Exploring nature and recognizing common shapes within it is a fun activity for children. Our children had fun running around, picking up nature finds and saying that they looked like butterfly eggs or the cocoon etc. It’s like a treasure hunt!

The best part about finding all of your material in nature is that you don’t have to buy any of the supplies. Plus it can all be placed back into the woods or your backyard later and is a zero waste activity!

Bring a little basket with you in your nature walk, or pockets work great too!

Get fresh air and exercise while collecting the items, You may not use all of the items that you collect, but it’s a fun scavenger hunt!

We wanted the Mandala to tell a story and have more of a learning lesson to it. That is why we chose natural materials that could represent different parts the butterfly’s lifecycle. Telling a little story about how the butterfly grows, to teach kids about the lifecycle of a butterfly.

See how these items look so much like little caterpillars and butterfly eggs!


Anything in nature found on the forest floor or in your garden, we used:

  • Petals and leaves found in our garden - butterfly

  • Pinecones and nuts - chrysalis

  • Flowers, dandelion stems and leaves - caterpillars

  • Leaves with Mock Orange blossoms and crabapple to represent - butterfly eggs

You can used rocks, stones, pinecones, flowers, leaves, nuts, berries, shells seeds etc.

Let the child decide what materials should be for what part of the lifecycle. They will come up with creative ideas!


Once you have collected your natural materials, cut out a circle using fabric or a piece of paper. That will be your circle template to help keep your mandala pattern circular.

Design your butterfly in the middle, if you wish and work your way outward, placing the natural objects all the way around the butterfly equally so that it forms a patterns.

These were Carefully and Artfully arranged by Charlotte (age 6) to mirror each other (in a circular pattern), while also creating symmetry with the butterfly’s wings. Some help by an adult was required to teach about the patterns of a mandala.

The great thing about these is that they can be rearranged and reworked, don’t glue them down. Make your pattern and take a photo, then either release the nature finds back into the wild as zero waste, or keep them and make more patterns and designs!

Make it any shape that you’d like! You can use fabric or a piece of paper, or draw your shape onto the ground like chalk!

For younger children, you can make any shape you want and turn it into a nature collage! Don’t worry about a set pattern and mandala, have fun exploring colours and textures instead! This one was made by both of our girls, age 6 and 2.

We hope you have fun making a Nature Mandala, You can make one with no theme, or change the theme to something else that you are learning about! The main thing is to make it fun and to be creative! If you create one and would like to share it with us, tag us on Instagram @acorns.and.aprons! We would love to see what you came up and may end up featuring it in our stories!


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