Jan 16, 2007

Walking the labyrinth

I've had enormous success with this labyrinth in the outdoor environment. Not only does it provide the challenge to balance and movement that young children desire, it is a wonderfully quiet and meditative activity.

In this photo, you can see one of the four year-old girls winding her way out of the stone pathway. I've found it to be suitable work for all but the very, very young. It can even have a calming affect on the most excitable children of the group.

Living in rural Mexico, finding the materials to build it was fairly easy and didn't cost one cent. We took a pick-up down to a river, gathered a good pile of small to medium-sized smooth rocks (this is important for safety reasons,) and put another pile of fine sand on a tarp. Those who don't have access to a river or a truck might consider making friends with someone who has a truck, and call around to see where they might sell the rocks you need. Once back at the site, sketch out the design on the ground with a stick. Here's an example labyrinth design.

I found it easiest to begin drawing from the cross in the middle, and to work my way outward from there. Also figure that you will be leaving about 8 to 10 inches for the sand pathway, and that the rocks themselves take up a substantial amount of space ... more than your stick drawn lines! Once satisfied with the layout, begin placing the rocks. Finally, spread the sand about 1/2 inch thick along the pathway.

This work is done barefoot. I provide a small chair at the entrance to the labyrinth where the child can remove his shoes and socks. Next to the chair is a brush he can use to clean the soles of his feet once he exits, before putting on his shoes once again.

The presentation's points of interest are: walking slowly, keeping your eyes on the path ahead of you, and turning around at the center of the labyrinth.


Zhanna S said...

Wow! What a wonderful and fairly simple activity to create! THank you for sharing and explaning so well!

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

This is wonderful...saw this post on Crafty Crow. Labyrinths are so amazing. My children and I have walked several together and I would love to build our own one day. Thanks for the details on how to do it.

Shannon said...

That is just wonderful! We'll have to give this a try with all the rocks around here.

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