Zen gardens for kids

DIY Zen Gardens for Kids

By ProjectswithKids


  • Facebook

These zen gardens for kids are so easy and fun to make! We used non-breakable containers and bright colors to make this project fun and kid-friendly. This is a great calming sensory activity for kids that you can customize with different colors and accessories.

They would also make great gifts! We love making handmade gifts for family and friends, check out our collection of awesome kid-made gifts for more ideas and inspiration.

Make your own zen gardens for kids

This post contains affiliate links, which come at no cost to you. If you would like more information please review my disclosure policy.

  • Sand in any color
  • Kid safe containers
  • Items for your zen garden such as shells, rocks & crystals, driftwood, or other items of your choosing.
  • Something to use as a rake. We used a mini back scratcher (which worked perfectly!), a wooden fork and made our own with wooden skewers (more on that below).
  • Washi tape(optional)

Start your zen gardens for kids

1. Pick out your containers. We made sure to use containers that wouldn’t easily break. We chose a lid from a photo box, a photo scrapbooking container with a lid, which is great because you can close the lid and make it portable, and an old plastic plate that I used when my daughter was younger(a great way to use what you already have!).

If you choose to use a shallow cardboard box, you might want to tape around the bottom and sides to prevent the sand from leaking through. 

2. Choose your sand colors. My kids wanted to use bright colors and luckily our local craft store had some in stock. I was hoping to find some sand at the dollar store, but no such luck!

If you use sand that you collect from the beach make sure to pick out all the debris, rinse it in a fine mesh strainer and let it dry completely before pouring into your containers.  

3. Fill your containers, but don’t fill them too much. You want to be able to make designs in your sand with a rake and not have any sand spill out.

4. Choose your zen garden accessories. This is the fun part! We used rocks, crystals, and driftwood for our zen gardens. But you can choose to add any items your kids want. Mini statues or small toys, even air dry plants that are in more traditional zen gardens. Have fun placing your items in your containers.

5. Time for your rakes! The mini back scratcher and wooden fork worked great but I also wanted to make our own. We used mini bamboo skewers that are used for appetizers(and probably found at any grocery store) and wrapped them in washi tape. They turned out great and work really well!

6. Give your kids a chance to try out the different rakes and play around with drawing designs in their sand.

We love how our zen gardens for kids turned out! My daughter is currently using hers to draw pictures and write messages to me in the sand.

If you are looking for some more sensory activities take a look at our fun painting snow winter sensory activity!

More craft projects you will love   

Mermaid DIY School Supplies Kids Can Make      

Handmade Coasters with Pressed Flowers & Washi Tape

Follow me on Pinterest for more great ideas! 

Pin for later


  • Facebook

More projects you will love

Reader Interactions

DIY Mindful Zen Garden Craft for Kids : Kumarah

This page may contain affiliate links for products that I have personally tried and recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See my disclaimer for full details.

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”] [et_pb_row admin_label=”row”] [et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”]

A mindful Zen garden for kids is a simple and fun craft that you can do with your kids at home or in a kids’ yoga class.

A Zen garden is an ancient meditation technique developed by Japanese monks to aid in mindfulness. They created large sand and rock gardens to rake for a calming and meditative practice.

Now, many people all over the world use smaller desktop Zen gardens to bring them a little peace and calm in their day.  The little Zen garden is a reminder to take mindful breaks, rest the eyes, and take a few deep breaths.

Combined with my Mindful Glitter Calm Down Jar at my desk, I feel more centered and mindful with my own mini Zen garden to help me focus throughout the day.

You can easily make a mindfulness Zen garden of your own to have at home, or for your kids to have in their workspace (especially with distance learning being all too common these days!).

I did this craft with my two little boys, ages 8 and 11. The younger is very artistic and was right on board with it, ready to god. His fairy rock garden on the beach is really quaint and adorable.

His older brother, usually reluctant to do anything other than be on his screens, was surprising really into it as well! He was ready to try it out immediately.

He listened to the directions, learned about how it helps with mindfulness, got started on his desert scene, and after about 20 minutes of constructing careful said, “This actually is really calming.”

YAY, mindfulness crafts for the win!

First of all,

What is Mindfulness for Kids?

First, it’s important that your child or students know a little bit about mindfulness and why it is important.

Mindfulness is the art and practice of paying close attention to one thing at a time. If you are eating, you should be focused on your food: the smell, the taste, the texture.

When you are walking, be mindful of your feet, your surroundings, the sounds you hear, and the sights you see.

During the day, we often get caught up in too many things, our tasks, our to-do lists, the meals we will eat later, and things that happened earlier that caused great emotion.  

Our minds become like a monkey, jumping from thought to thought, with no real presence in the current moment.

In order to still our minds and quiet our racing thoughts, it’s important to practice mindfulness. We take a deep breath, calm our bodies and find stillness, and focus our thoughts on one thing. Being mindful of the present moment helps us feel happier, be more productive, and feel calmer.

Here are some breathing techniques that can help you teach your kids about mindfulness.

And here are some fun mindfulness games you can play with kids at home, and even with your toddler!

What Tools Do You Need to Make Your Mindfulness Zen Garden?

There are lots of options for creating your own Zen garden from items you have at home. There are also quite a few pre-made kits that you can purchase.

Here is a nice simple pre-made Zen garden kit for kids.

Or you can get the materials to assemble one on your with kids. I think that is fun because you can include a mindful nature walk to gather the materials as well. Many of these are also available at your local craft store.

Here is what you need for your DIY Zen Garden
  1. A flat, low edged container for the sand:
    • Shoebox lid
    • Photo box lid (slightly sturdier)
    • Tray or small box
    • Planter tray (heavier but works great)
  2. Fine sand. You can use play sand, like for a sandbox, but it tends to be too coarse. I recommend this decorative sand in white instead. I also got it in blue and tan!
  3. A small rake, fork, or even a pine branch to make raking designs
  4. Rocks. Choose a good variety of sizes, colors, and shapes.
Optional additions to your Zen Garden
  • Decorative branches
  • Craft sticks to make a fence or DIY rake
  • Glue if you plan to make a fence
  • A small bowl for water
  • Pebbles for dividing two areas of the container
  • Sand stamps (These are SO cool, I highly recommend them)
  • Bead figures or small toys (turtles, fairies, gnomes, pandas… these Yoga Sloths are adorable and perfect!)
  • Fairy houses
  • Moss for decorating one side of the garden
  • A small dust brush and pan for cleaning stray sand

A cover for it while you are not using it. (Especially if it will be by a computer and you have pets or small children!). A microwave cover would work well, or a slightly larger box.

Once you have all the tools, it’s time to get the basics assembled.

How to Set Up a DIY Zen Garden to Practice Mindfulness for Kids

Once you have your Zen garden supplies and you have it all assembled, make sure you explain the process and tactics for mindfully using this tool.

The purpose of the Zen garden is to meditate or focus on just one thing. You can choose an affirmation, or a mantra to whisper to yourself while you create your garden, or you can simply focus on your breath, or the movement of the sand while you rake.

  1. Choose a mantra or an affirmation. Here is a list that I provide for my students.  Or you can choose a nice set of cards like these.
  2. Start with the sand clear and flat. Gently shake it so it is level.
  3. Chose your rocks or items that you would like to place in the garden.   
  4. Mindfully and slowly take a deep breath as you carefully choose where to place each item. This is an important part to model with kids or students, to help them practice the focus and concentration aspect of the meditation.
  5. Once all of your items are placed, choose a rake.  Rake the sand in nice slow, steady designs, breathing slowly to keep your hand steady.
  6. As you approach the rocks and other items, notice what it feels like to go around, or make a different pattern. This is part of the mindfulness process as well.  How does it feel to encounter obstacles?
  7. While raking, you can also quietly say your mantra to yourself, lifting your mind with a positive affirmation.
  8. Once you’ve finished raking and making designs, it’s up to you to decide to save it, or replace the rocks and obstacles and smooth out the sand.  How does it feel to have your design be impermanent?

If you have younger kids or if you are planning to keep your Zen garden in a classroom, I recommend using a larger tray to set the garden in, just in case of spills. You can keep a small dustpan nearby to give them to option to clean up after as well.

Here are a few more examples of different Zen rock and fairy gardens you can set up with your kids or students! I hope you like them.

This little desert scene, complete with an oasis, was crafted by an 11 year old, who was excited to try it, and also said after 15 minutes of placing things and raking quietly said, “You know this actually is really calming. I like it.” Whew! This adorable fairy garden was made by a very creative 8 year old! I love the little beach hut and especially the pink snail hiding behind the bush. For this zen fairy garden, we added a popsicle stick fence to the lid of a photo box, added a river of rocks and a lot more moss. I love the fairy garden house in this one too! So quaint. This one is made with just a photo box lid and rocks! It works nicely for doing more raking designs or sand stamps.Another little garden in the base of a pot, this one I added small rocks and moss, along with a cute fairy house!I like the simplicity of just using a planter base, rocks, a little zen temple figure, and sand stamps. I found this little wooden tray at my local craft store, plus blue sand! So pretty.We even made one another that looks like a little beach! I love the tiny bead turtles and shells that I found, too.

What other mindfulness crafts have you done with kids?

Here is what I have so far, I’ll be adding more soon!

Glitter Calm Down Jar

Positive Affirmation Stones

Printable Kids Yoga Games

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column] [/et_pb_row] [/et_pb_section]

Sharing is caring!


  • Facebook
  • Twitter

How to enroll a child in a kindergarten near the house and not spend a penny

  • How to get in line
  • Why file another application
  • What to do if there are no places
  • We invoke the law

The Constitution of the Russian Federation states that all citizens of the Russian Federation have the right to education. The Basic Guarantees of the Rights of the Child Act and the Education Act establish the right of everyone to an accessible, free education.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes that all actions concerning children must be directed to their observance and best interests. The Family Code says that the choice of a garden is the right of parents.

To get a place for their child in the kindergarten, some parents have to go through several circles of bureaucratic hell

But in reality, it often happens like this: the mother decided to leave the decree, but there is no ticket to kindergarten and is not expected until next year. Depending on the region, this can last for more than one year, until the exit to school.

In this article we will figure out what to do if you want to put your child in a garden, but there are no places or there is, but the garden is given 3-5 kilometers from the house over rough terrain - and this is even in the best case.

How to get in line

If your friends and acquaintances already have parents with experience, then you know that you need to get in line for kindergarten as early as possible - so the chances of getting a place on time (this is usually before the child is three years old) rise.

Because it's the electronic queue that parents are told about at the education department that determines who gets who in the kindergarten. Masha followed Vasya, Vasya followed Petya, Petya followed Lena, and so on.

Not really.

The waiting list everyone is referring to is not a waiting list at all, but a tracking system designed to keep track of the number of children who need to be placed in a given school year. Those. even if you “put the child in line” six months before you need a garden, this is not a reason to refuse to provide you with a place. Refusal with the argument “before it was necessary to stand in line” has no legal basis.

Moreover, the automatic recruitment referred to by the department's employees violates the rights of children, since the realization of the rights of one child cannot depend on the realization of the rights of other children. Those. places in the garden should be provided for all children who need it. And with automatic picking, this is impossible, because the system does not take into account those who “stand far in line”, but need a place right now.

The second point, which is often referred to in departments for preschool education: “there are still many beneficiaries in front of you, they have an advantage”.

That's right. Children of privileged categories of citizens do have an advantage in enrollment.

Enrollment out of turn is eligible for:

  • children of citizens affected by radiation at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant,
  • children of citizens from special risk units, as well as families who have lost their breadwinner from among these citizens,
  • children of judges, prosecutors, employees of the Investigative Committee.

First of all enrolled:

  • children from large families,
  • disabled children and those with a disabled parent,
  • 90,003 children of military personnel, police officers and employees with special ranks serving in institutions and bodies of the Penitentiary Institution, in the federal fire service, in drug control bodies, in customs departments;
  • children of single mothers (if there is no entry in the birth certificate or the entry was made at the direction of the mother).

But does this mean that those who do not have these benefits should stay at home until school? .. No. According to the Letter of the Ministry of Education and Science “On recommendations on the procedure for recruiting preschool educational institutions”, in one group the number of beneficiaries cannot exceed the number of children who are not included in any of the beneficiary categories. Those. the maximum ratio of beneficiaries and everyone else is 50/50.

So, in order to register a child (let's say it right), you need to submit the following package of documents:

  • application for registration,
  • copy of the passport of one of the parents,
  • copy of birth certificate,
  • proof of benefits, if you have any.

Notice that registration is not required? Because the right to pre-school education, according to the law, can be exercised even without a residence permit.

There are three ways to register a child with the department: directly with the department, through the MFC or through the State Services portal.

Unfortunately, each method has its own catch. For example, in the MFC or on the portal, it may be difficult to register an appeal without a residence permit. The department may refuse to personally accept documents due to the epidemiological situation and offer to leave them in a box.

Of course, you can do this, but it's better to insist on a personal appointment to make sure that your application is accepted and registered (ie, the employee must stamp and assign an incoming number to your copy of the application). If at this stage there are difficulties, you can refer to the Federal Law on the Consideration of Citizens' Appeals.

Regardless of how you apply, your application must be processed within 30 days. Those. if you were not notified of registration in a month, take your copy of the application (if submitted through the department), receipt (if through the MFC) or printout (if through the State Services) and go to your department to figure it out.

Why file another application

You have registered your child. He grows. A year, one and a half, two, two and a half passes and you think: “Well, it’s probably time to send the child to kindergarten and go to work.”

Go to the State Services to check the status of the application, and see your number - 258. Shock, panic - what to do?.. Apply for a place in kindergarten!

No, this is not the same statement that we talked about above.

Want to get a place in the garden? It's time to improve your knowledge of Russian legislation

The first application is about registering your child. To them you tell the department that in the future your child will need a place in such and such kindergartens, and it will be taken into account when planning the number of places. With the second application - for the provision of a place - you say that you need a garden right now.

If you're reading this right now and you're asking, "Why is this necessary - I've already written one application, it's obvious that I'm waiting for a job." Unfortunately, it's not obvious. There are many children, there are few places in the gardens, there is not enough for everyone. And if you do not declare yourself, then the department will give you a place not when you need it, but when the department has the opportunity. And if it does not appear in the next year or two?.. Or will they give a place not in the garden that you have marked as a priority, but in the one that is 5 kilometers away?..

Therefore, if you understand that, for example, six months are left before going to work, and there is no progress in the queue, write an application for a place so that the department knows about your need.

If you approach the application in detail, you will save yourself time. You can’t just write “I ask you to provide my child with a place from such and such a date in such and such a garden” and wait for a ticket to be sent to you. In our case, in detail means justified from the point of view of the law. How exactly to build a statement, what to emphasize - depends on your situation.

There is a kindergarten in the courtyard of Alina's house, and she planned to take her son there. But the queue doesn't move! Alina decided to call the department and find out what was happening with the places.

« There is no room in garden N, but there is room in garden M! Will you go?" - Alina was asked in the department. And garden M, for a moment, is 7 kilometers away. And get there by bus + walk 40 minutes. And with a three-year-old child - the whole hour. And so every weekday 2 times. Of course, this is not an option when there is a garden closer - right in the courtyard of the house.

In our example, after the conversation, Alina understood what objections she would have to face from the employees of the department. It was on their overcoming that she decided to build a statement.

In addition to the general provisions for any situation that every citizen, according to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, has the right to receive an education, that, according to the Family Code, the choice of a kindergarten is the exclusive right of parents, etc. , etc. Alina will also write that her child only needs Garden N, because it is he who meets the requirements of safety and physical accessibility, which are prescribed in the new Sanitary Rules, Building Regulations and Rules and are supported by the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation.

An application for a place in the garden must be submitted directly to the office. Just as in the first case, ask to register an appeal and put down the incoming number.

Remember, the broader the regulatory base (ie the number of references to applicable law) of your application, the more likely you are to get a seat right away. But do not give up and do not give up if a month later you were told that there are no places in the garden and when they will not be known. This reason for refusal is illegal. Let's figure out why together.

Why save money for months when you can get what you want right now? Take a loan at a rate of 6.9% at Sovcombank, sign up for the Minimum Rate Guarantee service, and we will return the interest at the end of the loan term. To do this, pay off Halva every month and avoid delinquency on the loan. You can leave a request in two clicks, and we will credit the money to the card or send it by courier.

What to do if there are no places

Indeed, Art. 67 of the Law on Education says that admission to a particular kindergarten may be refused if there are no places in it. But in this case, the department is obliged to offer an alternative option.

Please note: the law specifies that the garden must be within easy reach of the child's place of residence. And accessible proximity, as mentioned above, is physical accessibility as well. If you need to get there by car or public transport, then this no longer meets the requirements of safe physical reach.

Therefore, the garden for 3, 5, 25, etc. kilometers is not an alternative available to you, but a convenient option for the agency to close your request.

I see, the refusals are illegal. But how to prove it to the department?

If there is no free space in the available vicinity, the department, anticipating the need thanks to the same accounting system, must take timely measures to increase the number of places. Therefore, the lack of places in the garden cannot be a legitimate reason for refusal. Rather, it is evidence of the department's inaction.

Call on the law

The agency's denial of your kindergarten application violates the law and the rights of the child. Therefore, your next step will be a complaint to the prosecutor's office about the inaction of a state body.

In the complaint, it is obligatory to state not only the essence of the problem (for example, they do not give a place in the garden), but also the rationale for your position from a legal point of view: what rights were violated, what exactly the violation consists of, etc. Just like in the application , we refer to the current legislation, and the more complete and detailed, the better.

In addition, the complaint will need to summarize what actions you expect from the prosecutor - conducting an audit, bringing to justice, etc.

Please note that the prosecutor's office does not have to forward the complaint to the agency whose actions you want to appeal. If the prosecutor's office ignored this rule, most likely you will not receive a quality answer, the department will simply duplicate the refusal. In this case, you will need to draw up a statement of claim and file it with the court.

Places in the gardens are available throughout the year. But they have to be fought for

Bad news : asserting the right to a place in the garden is a long and difficult path. Local courts may refuse, an appeal may not be in your favor.

But there is also good news : positive practice is developing in the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation in favor of parents who go to the end and fight for the rights of their children.

How to transfer a child to another kindergarten: advice from lawyers

How to transfer from one kindergarten to another

“If parents want to get acquainted with all the nuances of transferring a child to another kindergarten, comprehensive information about the procedure can be obtained from the Order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia dated 12/28/2015 N 1527 (as amended on 06/25/2020),” Oksana Krasovskaya, a leading lawyer at the European Legal Service, told Gazeta. Ru.

According to this document, parents or legal representatives of the child must contact the executive authority of the subject of residence or local government (for example, the department of education or the department of education) and write an application for transfer.

Check with the County Department of Education or the County/Borough Department of Education for availability at state and municipal daycare centers.

“If parents decide to transfer their child to a private kindergarten, then information about the availability of places should be clarified directly with the institution,” explained Anna Ivleva, lawyer at Aktion Education.

There are two ways to apply for a transfer to the state kindergarten: in person at the City Department of Education (Department of Education) or through the State Services portal.

Ivleva listed the documents that parents will need (in addition to the application):

- the pupil's personal file,
- the child's birth certificate,
- information about benefits.

In the application, indicate the surname, name, patronymic of the child, date of birth, the focus of the group, the institution that you would like to get into.

How to choose children's books so that the child loves reading

If the child can read fluently, then the next task that confronts the parent is to do ...

May 20 13:06

If the child needs special accommodations (a preschooler has special educational needs), it is important to note this on the application and provide supporting documents.

Parents submit an application for deduction to the old kindergarten only when the receiving educational organization reports a positive decision. After receiving the application for expulsion, the head within three days issues an order for expulsion in connection with the transfer to another kindergarten. After that, the contract with the parents is terminated and the parents are given a personal file.

“After that, the parents submit to the new kindergarten an application for the admission of a child in the order of transfer, a personal file of the child, a passport of one of the parents,” lawyer Krasovskaya said. She emphasized that other documents for enrollment in the order of transfer are not indicated, however, the host organization has the right to request a medical card and other documents from parents if they are not in the personal file (Clarifications sent by letter of the Ministry of Education of Russia dated 02.03.2022 No. 03-264).

“It is worth noting that there may not be places in the kindergarten where parents want to transfer their preschooler. In this case, the child can be put on a waiting list for a place in a kindergarten in the order of transfer, and a referral to the desired kindergarten is issued only after a place appears in it, ”explained lawyer Krasovskaya, noting that this procedure is prescribed in Law No. 273 "On Education in the Russian Federation" (Article 91, item 14).

“The only reason for refusal is the lack of free places in preschool educational institutions on the desired date of enrollment,” Ivleva explained, advising in this case to apply on the public services portal again. The lawyer noted that “if the child is not accepted because it is too small and there is no group for this age in the kindergarten, it is necessary to demand enrollment in the short-term stay group, the “Together with mother” group or a similar group for young children.”

Also, parents may be denied if they made a mistake in filling out the application, in the absence of the necessary documents, as well as if the child has medical contraindications.

Registration of the child plays a role in obtaining a place (depending on the region of residence).

“The lack of permanent registration is not a basis for refusing to provide a place in a preschool institution. This only affects the order. But, for example, in Moscow, temporary and permanent registrations affect the placement of a child in a kindergarten. If a preschooler has a temporary registration, in practice you will have to wait a very long time for a place, ”explained lawyer Krasovskaya. You can go to court with a request to provide a place, but the practice of such claims, according to the lawyer, is negative.



How to change kindergarten through Public Services

To enroll a child in a kindergarten through Public Services, you first need to register on the portal. It is important that the service is provided free of charge. If they demand money from you for it, then check that the url address is spelled correctly.

Not only in a column: how to explain division to a child

Multiplication and division skills are necessary for children not only in mathematics lessons, but also in everyday life, during ...

11 May 11:50

In your personal account, select the service "Acceptance of applications for enrollment in municipal educational institutions that implement the main educational program of preschool education (kindergartens), as well as registration for the relevant account."

You will then be prompted to "Submit an application", after which you need to enter the required data. You can specify no more than three educational institutions where you would like to enroll a preschooler.

How long to wait for a transfer to another kindergarten

Preliminary recruitment of groups takes place annually from March 1 to April 30 annually. During this period, parents who plan to take their child to a kindergarten from September 1 confirm the need to provide the child with a place in a specific kindergarten, and also report benefits for extraordinary, priority and preferential enrollment.

The recruitment of groups in kindergarten takes place from May 15 to June 30 - during this period, the Department of Education forms lists of children for enrollment in educational institutions.

During the recruitment period, transfers from one kindergarten to another are temporarily suspended. The transfer of children takes place every last Tuesday of the month from October to February inclusive.

Don't wait until the school year to apply - the sooner the parents take care of this issue, the greater the chance to solve it earlier.

What reason to indicate when transferring to another kindergarten

If a kindergarten attended by a preschooler is closed, then the transfer is made by the founder - while parents are given a choice of several educational institutions.

Learn more