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DIY Zen garden for calm and focus

Enjoy a little quiet time with this Zen Garden

Enjoy a little quiet time with this Zen Garden
My kids have long admired the little table top zen garden I have on my desk in my office. I let them play with it now and then, reminding them to not get sand every where. They have to play with it gently and thoughtfully. Now that they are seven they enjoy using it as a way to focus their energy and slow down too. That's the point of zen- it's a quiet space of stillness deep inside ourselves. Helping my kids connect to that stillness really helps them find balance within themselves. 

Life can be hectic and stressful, and studies show our kids are more stressed out than generations before. Helping them learn to connect to themselves and focus their energy on slow, creative activities is good for overall mental health.

Here's what you need to make your own table top Zen Garden:

Small tray or box with edges to keep the sand in
Small gems, stones, pine cones, see shells, etc. Natural elements work best
Small rake, or tooth pick (can find tiny rakes in fairy sections of craft stores)

I used a candle tray that was sitting in my closet. It has the perfect edges to hold in the sand and roomy enough to move the sand around the stones. 

Add a small amount of sand to the tray and add in your stones, or natural things. In Zen philosophy the stones represent islands, or mountains and the sand represents the ocean. Use the rake (or tooth pick) to draw the ocean waves between the mountains. You can get as elaborate in your designs as you like. There is a theory that if you write your worries in the sand and shake the sand flat, your worries disappear. Seems like an easy tool for kids to let go of some of their worries.

If you love the zen idea, but worried about the mess factor, use a covered box or a plastic container with a lid. It doesn't have to be completely earthy to get the zen effect. Enjoy this as a nightly activity, or at times your child may need to focus like right before homework. You can even make on a bigger scale by filling up a wooden serving tray with sand and adding in bigger stones. If you are using a container with a locking lid your garden can travel with you. 

Enjoy the process of slowing down and finding a little zen in your day!

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 

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