Creating Labyrinths In The Sand

Here’s another great intervention idea submitted by reader Martha Nodar. Ms. Nodar earned a gift certificate to for her submission. Learn how you can do the same!

A respite to a world saturated in technology, the labyrinth offers a chance to literally stop and listen to one’s inner voice. Whether walking the labyrinth, building one in the sand, or drawing it in a piece of paper, the action requires concentration on the task at hand, which may be a welcome relief. Labyrinth scholars suggest we begin walking or building a labyrinth with the intention of gaining self-knowledge, but not to expect an answer. Rather than begin the journey with an expectation, they encourage us to embrace and honor the entire experience. Based on the idea that most, if not all children enjoy connecting the dots, the activity featured above lends itself to tapping into a child’s creative imagination. Chances are they may want to engage in the activity again and again. It is after all by accessing the Creative Self, that we find our coping skills to a hurried world. Life is a maze—the labyrinth helps us cope with it.

Creating a Labyrinth in Five Steps (An activity for school-age children)

  • Step one: Draw two lines crossing each other in the center—one vertical and one horizontal. Draw a dot in the middle of each of the quadrants
  • Step two: Next, connect dot in the upper left quadrant to the top of the vertical line
  • Step three: Next, go around the opposite side and connect dot in the upper right quadrant to the left end of the horizontal line
  • Step four: Next, go around the opposite side and connect dot in the lower left quadrant to the right end of the horizontal line
  • Step five: Final step—go all the way around to the opposite side and connect dot in the lower right quadrant to the lower end of the vertical line

This is what the final labyrinth drawing may look like on paper:

image001This is what the final labyrinth may look like by using beads in a small sand tray:


Accessing the Creative Self

Labyrinths are universal round patterns of pathways that tend to attract people of all ages. They have been around since ancient time and are believed to represent one’s metaphorical spiritual journey (Bigard, 2009). Labyrinths may be represented in drawings, depicted in a sandy beach, or built in a small sand tray. McCullough (2004) emphasizes the labyrinth is a symbol of integration with “a single circuitous path that leads uninterrupted to a center” (p. 3). Bigard (2009) points out the difference between labyrinths and mazes. Whereas a maze invites one to lose oneself, the labyrinth offers “orientation and a means to find oneself” (Bigard, 2009, p. 138). Walking the labyrinth for meditative purposes has become very popular in recent years. Although there are a variety of labyrinth styles, the two most common are the Chartress-style labyrinth patterned after the one in the Chartress Cathedral in France, and the Classic Cretan-style.

image003Chartress-style Labyrinth


Classic Cretan-style Labyrinth

Artress (2000), a world-wide labyrinth expert, came up with the idea of building a labyrinth in a sand tray as yet another option for walking the labyrinth metaphorically. Artress contends that the labyrinth pattern serves as a guide to self-reflection by awakening parts of the Self that might have been previously unacknowledged. Arising from a similar paradigm, Bigard (2009) believes the spirals in the labyrinth represent “growth and transformation” while the circle in which the spirals reside symbolizes “unity and wholeness” (p. 138). McCullough (2004) suggests that a simplistic, modified variation of the Classic Cretan style labyrinth.

(View full article with references here: A Labyrinth in the Sand-1.)

ChildTherapyToys has two great labyrinth items in stock. We have glass stones and marbles for creating labyrinths in the sand…

…as well as a lovely, handmade labyrinth that can be used as a sand tray miniature, a great example of what a labyrinth looks like, or you can just keep it on your desk as a relaxation device.

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