title art
Japanese Zen Garden
Ages 5 to 12
Explore a traditional Japanese form of contemplation.

What You Need
Homemade Zen Garden

  • Large, shallow baking pan or cookie sheet
  • Moist sand
  • Stones of various sizes
  • Cardboard rectangle about the size of a comb
  • Scissors
  • Spray water bottle (optional)

What to Do

Create a Japanese Zen garden. These gardens are traditionally intended for contemplation or meditation. To create them, artists use stones and sands. The stones represent mountains; the sand is raked into a pattern of flowing water. Children can make their own Zen garden using a large, shallow pan with stones for mountains and sand for water.

  1. Fill pan or cookie sheet with sand. Moisten sand using the spray water bottle.
  2. Pat the sand into the pan. Place several stones in the sand to symbolize mountains surrounded by water.
  3. Cut spaces in the edge of the cardboard so it resembles a comb with widely spaced teeth.
  4. Comb the sand to give the effect of flowing or rippling water.
  5. Experiment by rearranging the stones or combing the sand in a different way to create a new design.
  6. Place your Japanese-style Zen garden on a table or window ledge and enjoy contemplating its beauty.

Parents' Place | Home Activity Center
Education Place | Site Index