Zen Gardens

It’s strange but true.  This week Firecracker’s interest in all things Japan happened to intersect with where we’ve been reading in The Story of the World Volume 1.  (I haven’t mentioned that we’ve been reading the Story of the World because I strewed it in our read-aloud box and Rose picked it out, so we’re just reading, not using it as a history curriculum.)

We’ve been reading the chapter on India and castes and Siddhartha who became Buddha.  It was exciting because we immediately realized, when we got to our japan book that the Buddhist temples that the book was referencing were the same ones that were dedicated to the Buddha that we had just read about in The Story of the World.

So, of course we had to make a zen garden because they’re attached to the temples and are so soothing to play with.

All you need is:

  • sand
  • rocks and pebbles
  • some leaves or plants
  • a small bowl of water (with a couple of drops of blue food coloring)
  • small toys or clay to make pagodas and bridges

I got out a disposable lasagna pan and filled it with yellow sand.  (The only sand I had was craft sand.)  Then, I made a little pond of blue water for them, and sent them out to collect pebbles and flowers.

This was the end result.

Zen Garden




I’m not exactly sure how we ended up with Backugans and aliens in our zen garden instead of pagodas.  🙂  Still, they enjoyed raking the sand with a plastic fork and they cleared toys in and out for a long time after that.  In fact, Rose and Monkey are playing in it again right now.  They’ve decided to leave it out all week for playing in.  I almost said no to this because of the mess, but I’m so glad I said yes.


3 thoughts on “Zen Gardens

    1. I love the bakugans in it too 🙂 Firecracker, who is the one who’s wanting to learn about Japan, was a little worried that it might be too messy, but he finally loosened up and had some fun.

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