Japanese Zen gardens, also known as "karesansui," have been used as a form of spiritual contemplation for centuries. These gardens typically consist of small pebbles, or sand, with larger rocks. The pebbles represent the sea while the larger rocks or moss represent mountains and islands. Japanese Zen gardens for kids can be a fun way to relax the child's mind while providing a fun and artistically engaging craft.
Miniature Zen Garden
A miniature Japanese Zen garden scales down the traditionally massive size of these gardens, and places the benefits of the garden into the hands of children. This type of Zen garden can be placed on a child's workdesk or on their dresser. Every morning, the child can take a miniature rake and make his own designs before heading off to school. To make a miniature Japanese Zen garden purchase a small box, enough sand to fill the box and several small rocks or stones. Pour the sand into the box, and let your child place the rocks wherever he pleases. With a small rake, fork or twig from the yard allow the child to create designs within the sand.
Action Figure Garden
An interesting way to insert a Japanese Zen garden into a child's life is to use the child's favorite action figures. These can be characters from a movie or miniature cars. Create a Zen garden by purchasing a small box and filling it with sand. Let the child place two to three action figures within the garden and have the child create traditional Zen garden designs with a twig or small rake. A fun way to engage your child is to have them choose a new action figure every week.
Multicolored Zen Garden
Traditionally, Japanese Zen gardens use white pebbles or sand to create designs as the goal of a Zen garden is to promote reflection through minimalist designs. For adults, this may be an effective way to benefit from this type of garden, but children often enjoy brighter, more vivid colors. To create a more visually stunning Zen garden, purchase two to three different colored sand types, which is available at most hobby retail stores. Pour equal amounts of the sand into a small box, or use a main color and highlight this color with smaller amounts of different color sand. Position small rocks within the sand and have the child create designs in it with a small rake.