Kindergarten Lessons

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Geometry Math

## TEACHING SYMMETRY

When teaching symmetry to young children introduce new vocabulary with hands on activities.

In math, symmetry means that one shape becomes exactly like another when you move it in some way: turn it, flip it or slide it.

When teaching beginners, show them that shapes on one side of a line are the same as on the other side of a line.

Young children begin to understand the concepts and vocabulary of symmetry if you give them time to play symmetry games and experiment with symmetry art.

## Simple Symmetry Game

Materials for 2 kids:

• Pattern blocks
• Dowel rod or largest size tinker toy
• Math mat (place mat sized mat)
• Give 2 children one mat
• Place a rod, such as the longest dowel stick in a Tinker Toy set in the middle of the mat
• Child #1 puts one pattern block down on his/her side of the mat touching the rod
• Child #2 copies by putting the same block in the same place but on the other side of the rod
• Continue the game with 5 or six blocks and then remove the blocks
• The children tell each other what they think they have created
• Point out to the children that they have made designs that are symmetrical
• Explain that they are symmetrical because each side of the rod has blocks of the same color and in the same place
• Repeat with child #2 starting the design
• Repeat the game during the next week with new partners, changing it up by enthusiastically telling kids, “Today we’re going to make symmetrical birds (or butterflies or monsters)!”

## Integrate symmetry activities into themes

Kids love learning large words. Although they may not get them quite right in the beginning, after playing with symmetry for a week and reviewing it once or twice a month by integrating symmetry into a theme activity, the students soon come to  remember new words and the concepts. If you are studying insects, talk about how the wings are symmetrical or in a winter theme, make symmetrical snowflakes.

## Teaching symmetry by comparing real things & pictures

If you have real things in your room that are symmetrical show them to the students and ask, “Is this ___ symmetrical? Why or why not?”

If you don’t have real items make simple pictures, some of which are symmetrical and some that are not symmetrical (see image above) with construction paper and shape stickers, then ask the question.

Books such as, Is it Symmetrical? help introduce the concept to children.

## 10 Hands-On Symmetry Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

By: Author Tanja Mcilroy

Posted on Last updated: 13 February 2023

Categories Early Mathematical Skills

Introducing young children to the concept of symmetry is best done in a hands-on way, and using real examples from the world they know.

These 10 symmetry activities for preschoolers are practical and simple for them to understand.

## How Do You Teach Preschoolers Symmetry?

Symmetry is a part of geometry and can therefore be introduced in early childhood, which will build early maths skills .

Symmetry can be quite an abstract concept for a preschooler to grasp.

You may be wondering how to explain symmetry to a child, but it is better for small children to experience and see examples they are familiar with and build from there.

At this stage, you’ll want to expose children to the idea, show them it exists and let them have fun with it, without expecting them to produce symmetrical pictures or fully understand it.

Resist the urge to use worksheets as a tool as this kind of activity has little value to a preschooler and worksheets are not developmentally appropriate .

To grasp the concept, children need to see the symmetry that is all around them in the world, explore symmetry art activities and play.

## 10 Symmetry Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners

Here are a few ideas for explaining symmetry and some activities to involve kids in.

These are suitable to try at home or at school with older preschoolers and kindergarteners.

For all the activities, focus on the process of learning and not on the outcome or what the result looks like.

## 1. What’s Wrong with this Picture?

The best way to get children to understand something is to make it relevant to their own lives.

They are egocentric so they will connect with things that are about them.

A child’s body is the first example of symmetry in their own life. Start with the face for this activity.

Draw a sketch of a face with all the features muddled up – eyes that are not in line, one big ear and one small ear, a mouth that’s not centred, etc.

Ask “what’s wrong with this picture?” and together, find all the problems in the picture and re-draw it more accurately.

Use the activity to introduce the idea that your face has an imaginary line down the centre and that the two sides look almost the same.

## 2. Discuss Symmetry

Use the face activity as a starting point for a discussion about symmetry.

Introduce the word symmetry and explain that some things are symmetrical, which means that they are like a mirror image of each other.

Kids can imagine a line going down the centre of an object and see if the two sides look alike.

Discuss the human body and get kids to draw an imaginary line with their fingers going down the middle of their own bodies.

• What do you find on both sides of the body?
• Is one of your arms longer than the other?
• Do you have the same number of toes on each foot?
• If you were to fold your body in half, would the sides match?
• What if you folded in half at the waist? Does the top of your body look like the bottom?

Go from a discussion into either looking for more examples in nature or finding them in books and pictures.

## 3. Symmetry in Pictures

Search for examples of symmetry in picture books or picture cards. Search online for images of symmetry in nature.

A butterfly is always a good example of symmetry to show children as the patterns on the wings are a mirror image of each other.

Children will enjoy finding symmetry in familiar animals and plant life such as leaves, dragonflies, starfish, flowers, moths, cats, crabs and snowflakes.

## 4. Symmetry in Nature

Go on a walk outside and search for real examples of symmetry.

Look at leaves, branches, bricks, flowers and other objects.

Discuss whether these items have an imaginary line dividing two matching halves.

For items that can be folded in half, this is the most practical way to “see” symmetry.

Look at indoor objects too, such as vases, floor tiles or any other objects that have symmetrical patterns.

## 5. Paper Plate Faces

Get kids to make their own paper plate faces.

Provide paper plates, liquid glue and materials for the features of the face, such as pieces of coloured paper, buttons, pom-poms, markers, strips of fabric, etc.

Encourage kids to space the eyes and ears carefully on the face and to position the nose and mouth centrally.

Don’t worry too much about precision – just let kids think about the process of planning where to glue the materials.

## 6. Body Symmetry

For this activity, you’ll need a large roll of paper and some markers.

Roll out the paper on the floor and lie kids down on it so their whole body is on the page.

With a marker, trace around just one side of the body. Kids must then draw in the other half of their bodies – arms, legs, head, etc.

They can then add features and clothing, taking care to make the left and right sides symmetrical.

This activity is also great for body awareness .

## 7. Butterfly Painting

There is no more beautiful example of symmetry in nature than the wings of a butterfly.

Painting one also makes for a great preschool symmetry activity.

Show children some examples of butterfly wings so they can see how rich they are in colour and pattern.

Provide a large paper cut-out of a butterfly, folded down the centre.

Get kids to paint only one side of the wings. They can use different colours and create various patterns.

Then, fold the wings together, press gently and see how the paint transfers to the other side of the wings and reproduces the pattern.

This is a great way to physically experience what a mirror reflection is.

## 8. More Mirror Paintings

Try the butterfly activity with different shapes and images.

Provide large shapes and let kids experiment on their own. They could use large A4 sheets of paper or cut-outs like hearts.

They can have fun painting all kinds of patterns on one half of their shape, then fold them and see the results.

## 9. Paper Folding

Spend some time exploring shapes and whether they have a line of symmetry.

Give children cut-outs of all kinds of shapes – circles, ovals, rectangles, hearts, diamonds – and get them to fold them and see if they fold perfectly down the middle and if the sides match up.

This will help them develop the ability to find the line down the middle.

Give some complex shapes such as pentagons and hexagons, and some random shapes that don’t fold down the centre.

Paper folding is also great for building fine motor skills at the same time.

The point of this activity is to explore the properties of shapes – there does not need to be any result.

Kids can use these shapes later in a shape collage, or an art activity .

## 10. Symmetry with Loose Parts

Make symmetrical constructions and patterns with any kind of loose parts.

You can use pegboards to create a pattern, or any items such as blocks, beads or Legos. Even waste materials such as bottle tops will work.

Let kids freely create an image and then show them how to create a mirror reflection of the image.

It can help to physically draw or mark out a midline, then create the pattern on the left and mirror it on the right.

This can be tricky to understand at such a young age. If a pattern consists of a red and then a yellow block, on the other side it begins with the yellow block, then the red one.

Preschoolers may not yet be able to reproduce such a pattern so just let them explore the idea.

These are just a few ideas of symmetry for preschoolers. Use these to think of other ways to find symmetry and have fun with it.

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## Symmetry Activities For Kids – 10 Hands-On Ideas With Pics

The concept of symmetry is something that young children can begin to explore through practical activities, even before they can really put into words what it is. It is definitely better to start with experimentation with objects, rather than give them symmetry worksheets, printables or folding pictures.

What are the best symmetry activities for kids? Some excellent ideas to get children started with symmetry are:

• Making Loose Parts Faces
• Making Models
• Using Geoboards
• Mirror Books
• Making Loose Parts Butterflies
• ‘Seeing Symmetry’ Book
• Drawing Or Model Making Next To A Mirror
• Using Loose Parts Next To A Stick
• Building Half A Person Outside
• Paint Printing Using Objects

Read on to find a detailed illustrated description of these activities that will help you introduce and teach symmetry to young children in the most engaging and child-friendly way.

## 1. Making Loose Parts Faces

Babies and toddlers begin to understand symmetry by looking at faces. A face is usually a reasonably symmetrical thing, and we come to ‘know’ this even though children couldn’t put it into words often.

Creating your own faces is a great way of exploring symmetry in a context that they understand.

My favorite way of creating loose parts faces is to use a picture frame. This gives the children a base and structure to work inside.

To go with it, I would set up a ‘tinker tray.’ I usually use something like a baking tray with different sections.

Then simply fill the sections with assorted loose parts. Some good examples could be things like corks, bottle tops, feathers, pompoms, wood slices, leaves, bolts, and pebbles. Just whatever you have to hand or is readily accessible. If you’d like to find out the full guide on what kind of materials to use for loose parts play, then check out this guide of at least 100 ideas.

It is also nice to use something for the base of the face. In the past, I have used a silver cake base. Or play dough . Just something to give them a face outline.

To create the faces just get the children to use the loose parts and make a character. The symmetry will often happen automatically when it is a face as it is an in-built understanding. If it doesn’t, however, you can talk about how to make them look the same on one side as the other – like our faces!

It is great if they give them a character name! A funny voice or back-story really helps as well.

You can make goodies, baddies, family members, characters from stories – just whatever they like.

## 2. Using Geoboards

Geoboards are fantastic for all sorts of learning in the early years, including teaching symmetry.

You can buy geoboards, or you can easily make them yourself using pieces of wood with screws inserted into them. I like to use colored rubber bands on geoboards, but you can also use things like hair bobbles or loom-bands.

They are brilliant for fine motor , and you can also explore a range of art and math skills.

To use them to explain symmetry, you pick a line of screws near the middle of the board. It may be a good idea to put a piece of string down that line, so the children know that is the middle.

Then you build some shapes on one side of the line. For example, using the rubber bands you can make a square and a triangle. The idea is then to try and copy the exact same shapes on the other side of the line.

The easier way to do it is to create the shapes right next to the line, and then the copied shapes will be touching them on the other side.

The harder way is to create shapes further away from the line.

Don’t get stressed if they don’t do it exactly right! This activity is harder than most of the other symmetry activities in this article. However, children really like fiddling with geoboards, and this just gets them started with an understanding of what symmetry is.

This is just one of many geoboard activities you can try. Take a look my in-depth guide of 16 geoboard games you can play.

## 3. Making Models

This is another really natural and simple activity, that children often bring an element of symmetry into already without any adult intervention.

Making models is fantastic fun, and you can use so many different materials and create so many different themes.

Using play dough is a good way to do this, and the tinker trays that we used for the portraits.

You simply make a model, and whatever you put on one side you put on the other as well.

Good examples are things like aliens. So many children love space, and aliens are so fantastic for counting and early math skills.

Build different numbers of antennas, legs, heads, arms, and the like – and just copy them on the other side.

Other great models for teaching symmetry are things like vehicles, insects, characters, buildings, and animals.

## 4. Mirror Books

These are one of my ultimate favorite resources!

To make a mirror-book you simply need two thin mirrors that you tape together so that they form a right-angle.

These are a brilliant resource to create curiosity, and that element of awe and wonder.

They can be placed anywhere throughout the setting – on a secluded shelf, in a little nook, or on a table-top. Again, they are great when used with tinker trays.

The idea is that children place loose parts in whatever array or pictures they like in front of the mirror book. The mirror book creates a spectacular visual mandala , with multiple lines of symmetry. It is a great exploration of how symmetry works, and great for communication, and getting children excited and talking.

This is really sowing the seeds of an understanding in the children’s minds through exploration.

## 5. Making Loose Parts Butterflies

Butterflies are one of the great staples of teaching symmetry. Children just ‘get’ the idea that one wing looks the same as the other.

There are many ways of creating butterflies – paint printing being one of the favorites.

Another great idea is using loose parts. Have a big outline of a butterfly drawn out. It can be drawn on big paper, or I like to use the big black chalkboard boards that I have created, with a chalk outline drawn on.

Have a central line down the butterfly, or draw a body (whichever you prefer).

Using a tinker tray of loose parts you simply create a spectacular pattern on one side. Then either another child tries to copy it on the other side, or you just try to copy it yourself.

It is easier to do one element at a time than try to copy it. However, just let the children go for it! Problem-solving and working things out for themselves is a crucial function of these types of provocations.

You could do a huge one on the floor, with many children working together.

Alternatively, little tiny ones are a good introduction, that only allows for a few loose parts.

These provocations are excellent for counting and simple math problem-solving.

To find out a list of the 40 ultimate loose parts activities (of which is one) then check this article out.

## 6. Seeing Symmetry Book

There are several picture books that I have seen that deal with the concept of symmetry, but this one is certainly my favorite.

It is called Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy.

It is less of a story, but more a visual demonstration of what symmetry is.

There are many stunning symmetrical pictures, such as the owl on the opening title page. The owl is copied symmetrically across two pages, and so is all the writing and headings, which are written normally on the left, and in reverse on the right.

This book explores what symmetry is, and also shows many examples of where we find it in our environment.

There are pictures of animals, buildings, and elements of nature.

The book really hammers home the message, and is a good way of brining the concept of symmetry into words.

The book is also an excellent starting point for some of the other symmetrical activities outlined here.

## 7. Drawing Or Model Making Next To A Mirror

This one is very simple to set up, and great for children to just get started with exploring the concept of symmetry.

A simple way of doing it is to attach a mirror to the side of a box.

Then the children can explore building, making or drawing things next to the box. It is a great way to symmetry taking place spontaneously.

The next step is to create half of something, and let the mirror complete whatever you have done by creating the other half.

A simple example would be to create half a face. Look in the mirror, and you’ve got a whole face. Half a butterfly would be a good introduction. You could draw it or use loose parts.

Just have an experiment and see what they come up with!

## 8. Using Loose Parts Next To A Stick

This is a great provocation to try after you have already had a go of something the Mirror on the Box Activity (Number 7). When children have seen that you can make half of something that will be completed in the mirror, they can then have a try of making half of something on one side, and then completing the other half themselves.

Get a long straight stick and lay it down vertically. This is the central line of symmetry.

Then you create something on one side of the stick. Use loose parts from a tinker tray again.

You could build half of a face, or half of a building or vehicle.

It could be abstract as well – a pattern, or an array of loose parts.

Then attempt to recreate the same pattern or half-picture on the other side of the stick.

This provocation can be done in pairs. One child can be creating on one side the stick, and the other trying to copy. This generates a lot of talk and cooperation. Loose parts play like this has a huge number of benefits. To read the most important 14 benefits of loose parts play then check out this article.

If you do a giant version of this provocation, then lots of children can work on it at the same time.

## 9. Building Half A Giant Outside

This is a great provocation for using outdoors with natural loose parts – things like sticks, leaves, conkers, reels, and building blocks. Just whatever you can find in the outdoor space. To find out many more outdoor loose parts activities then take a look at this.

There is a simple way to do it, and a trickier way.

The simple way is for the adult to draw the silhouette of a huge giant on the floor with chalk. Draw a central line down the center of the body, from the top of the head down to the feet.

Now children ‘build’ the giant. Whatever they place on one side – for example, 4 conkers for hair – they try to copy on the other side.

There are harder ways of trying this game out. One harder variation is just draw a central line on the floor with chalk and nothing else. Then, once again, they try to build the giant on one side, and copy it on the other. This will create a  much more random creation, and really get them thinking.

## 10. Paint Printing Using Objects

This is a beautiful old classic idea, and definitely one of the simplest and best ways of exploring symmetry.

Have large pieces of paper that are folded in half. The idea is that you only paint on one side of the paper.

You can use different loose parts dipped in paint to create patterns and textures. Then you fold over the paper, and the image prints symmetrically on the other side.

Once again, the next step is to try to paint or print half of something on one side of the paper. It could be half a face, or the classic – half a butterfly!

Then fold it over, and hey presto! You have a spectacular symmetrical image.

Symmetry is a concept that even very young children can explore. It is easier just to experience it in a range of engaging ways before you ever need to talk about it in detail.

By taking part in a range of symmetrical provocations, children develop a core understanding of what it is, and they can build on this understanding in the future.

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## What Is Symmetry?

Why is it important to learn symmetry for kids, how can you teach symmetry to your child, examples of symmetry for children, activities that will help your child to learn symmetry.

Symmetry is an important mathematical concept that that children must be aware of. Moreover, symmetry comes into use not just in maths but also in many other fields, such as fashion design, craft, art, and even architecture. Therefore, children must be well-versed in this concept and develop a knack of applying it in real life.

To help you teach your child the concept of symmetry, we have covered all the information and some symmetry activities for kindergarten kids below.

We can say that something is symmetrical when it is equal or the same on both sides. In simple words, a shape has symmetry if a central dividing line can be drawn on it. This line shows that both sides of the shape are exactly the same or are equally divided.

This means that if we fold a shape along the central dividing line, both halves will align and match exactly. Similarly, if we place a mirror along the line, the shape would remain unchanged.

Here are some reasons why kids must learn about symmetry.

• It helps children develop pattern skills as they replicate the pattern improving their pattern recognition ability.
• When children create the same pattern on both sides, they hone their understanding of right and left and overall spatial awareness.
• While learning about symmetry, children learn to identify and differentiate between the colours of the stickers, which helps sharpen their visual perception.
• As kids stick or mark the right dot at the right place, they hone their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
• When children sit down and work on completing a task based around symmetry, they hone their ability to focus for longer periods of time. Thus, strengthening their focus and concentration.

Symmetry is an important part of geometry, and therefore, it is essential that children are introduced to this concept in their early childhood, which will help build strong foundational maths skills.

Symmetry can be quite an abstract concept for a child to grasp. You can begin by explaining the concept with the help of everyday examples and build from there. Teaching symmetry to preschoolers should be about exposing them to the idea of symmetry, showing them it exists and letting them have fun with it while learning. We should not expect them to exactly produce symmetrical pictures or fully understand them. Alternatively, you can also teach them with the help of games and activities we have mentioned below.

Let’s take a look at some examples given below to understand how to explain symmetry to kids. These are simple and easy examples that children will be able to grasp.

## 1. Example 1

Take a look at the image given below:

Explain to your child how the dotted lines divide the number 8 into equal parts.

## 2. Example 2

Explain to your child how the dotted lines, when passed vertically, horizontally and diagonally, can divide the square into equal parts. You can cut a square out and fold it accordingly to demonstrate this.

## 3. Example 3

Explain to your child how the dotted vertical lines passing from the middle divide the butterfly into two equal parts.

Teaching symmetry to kids is not easy as it seems. Some children just ‘get it’, while others need a little more help understanding the concept. The best way to get kids to understand the concept of symmetry is to get them to practice it in different ways, like fun activities.

Here are a few activities to teach symmetry to get your child to practise the concept.

## 1. Complete The Drawing

Give your child worksheets like the one given above and ask them to trace the second half of the picture and colour it. Your kid will try and complete the picture along the line of symmetry and will ensure that the image looks symmetrical.

## 2. Draw The Line Of Symmetry

Give your child a few worksheets with images like a ball, a bottle, a butterfly, etc. Ask your child to draw the line of symmetry for these images to divide them into equal halves.

## 3. Learning Through a Mirror

Make your child stand in front of the mirror and ask them to draw an imaginary line with their fingers going down the middle of their body. Now, ask them questions like:

• What do you find on both sides of the body?
• Is one of your arms longer than the other?
• Do you have the same number of fingers in each hand?
• Does the top of your body look like the bottom?

## 4. Find Symmetry In Nature

Go on a walk outside with your child and ask them to search for real-life examples of symmetry. Tell them that they can fold the object in half and see if they are symmetrical. Some of these real-life examples can be leaves, branches, bricks, flowers and others.

## 5. Butterfly Symmetry Painting

Provide your child with a sheet of paper folded down the centre. Ask your child to paint only one side of the butterfly wings. They can create various patterns using different colours. Then, help them fold the wings together, press gently and see how the paint transfers to the other side of the wings and reproduces the pattern magically. What a great way to physically learn and experience what a mirror reflection is!

## 6. Paper Folding

Give children cut-outs of different shapes – circles, ovals, rectangles, hearts, diamonds – and ask them to fold and check if they fold perfectly down the middle and if the sides match . This activity will help them develop the ability to find and discover the line down the middle, on their own.

## 7. Mirror Image

Ask your child to make a few geometrical shapes and cut them out. Ask them to fold the shapes in half and hold them up against a mirror. Show them when the shapes have been folded on a line of symmetry and then placed against the mirror, on that line. The shapes are once again complete!

## 8. Alphabet Symmetry

Ask your child to write down the letters that can be divided symmetrically. For example, A when the vertical line passes through the middle, B when the horizontal line passes through the middle, D when the horizontal line passes through the middle, and so on.

Symmetry is in almost all things around us. Especially something that involves designs and shapes. Through these above-mentioned activities, we hope to help you and your little one expedite through the world of symmetry and explore everything that is possible in their capabilities.

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## How to Teach Symmetry Without Worksheets

Learning Math & 123s Preschoolers Kindergartners Blocks Leaves Painting Symmetry 7 Comments

Have you ever talked with your preschooler about learning symmetry ? Julie shows us how to steer clear of worksheets to keep the learning immersive and hands-on!

I love  learning about math with my preschool age son. Symmetry, in particular, is one of those topics that is easy to teach. Once preschoolers start learning symmetry, they will notice it everywhere!

This easy symmetry activity takes about 15-45 minutes (depending on how fast your paint dries!). It’s the perfect introduction to symmetry for preschoolers. If you’re looking for more symmetry ideas, try making paper snowflakes !

For this activity, you’ll need just a few materials you probably already have at home:

• Two plain pieces of paper
• Black marker or pen
• Paint marker (affiliate link) or paintbrush and paint
• Assorted blocks and toys

Find more preschool math inspiration with these ideas for learning numbers!

## Prepare Your Leaves for Stamping

First, we painted the back side of the leaf with our paint pen. We tried a few different colors, but green looked the best for us. Make sure to paint the back of the leaf instead of the front, as the veins will pop out more and make a better stamped impression.

You could use also toys for this activity and get the job done, but we enjoy using natural objects any chance we can for early learning projects.

Then, I had my son carefully press the leaf onto a plain white sheet of paper. Help your child get all the edges pressed down as well, so you can really see the beautiful symmetry.

While we were waiting for the leaf print to dry, I drew a vertical line on another blank sheet of paper. I wrote the word “symmetry” at the top (another chance to identify letters and sound out words!)

Once your leaf print is dry, you’re ready to teach about symmetry. Trim around the outside of the leaf to make the paper more manageable for little hands, and then carefully cut the leaf print right down the middle so that you have two symmetrical sides.

## Tips for Teaching Symmetry

Patterns versus symmetry.

Since we’ve been studying patterns recently, my son wanted to make patterns instead of symmetry at first. I explained the idea of symmetry using his own hands.

Have your child place their hands palm to palm. Notice how the thumb touches the thumb, and the other fingers touch their match as well?

Now open up their hands so that only the pinky fingers are touching, palms facing up. Now, both thumbs are on the outside, both pinky fingers are on the inside. Symmetry is like a mirror image.

Start out with modeling how to create symmetry. Show your child how to match the left and right sides like a mirror on either side of the vertical line. You could even grab a small mirror and place it along the center of the leaf (or object) to show him the symmetry.

Next, only create one side of the symmetrical image. Have your child place the toy or leaf print part in the correct space to create symmetry. Then, let your child try it by himself!

## Go on a Symmetry Hunt!

If you want a bit more challenge, you could have your preschooler gather other items around the house or yard and create a symmetrical image with them on the paper.

Once your child understands the concept of symmetry, go on a “symmetry hunt!” Where can you find symmetry in your house or neighborhood?

If you love this symmetry activity for preschoolers, I know you’ll enjoy this number puzzle scavenger hunt!

## How have you explored symmetry with your child?

Julie is a mom of two, and a former teacher who found her happy place with her own kiddos at home. As a lover of all things simple, Julie thrives on boosting creativity in her grade school and preschool children with an organic approach to learning! Follow Julie on her blog , Pinterest , or connect on Facebook !

## More Hands on Kids Activities to Try

Nancy Jeffrey says

February 24, 2023 at 4:07 pm

You certainly have a great collection of ideas to make learning fun. You really seem well prepared for home schooling. Too bad all home schooling parents aren’t so well prepared. I also assume that you have kid-size chairs, tables, desk, etc.

Robin Hochroth says

June 8, 2020 at 10:32 am

thank you for the examples to show symmetry. I always use a butterfly to teach it but I liked the examples of the leaf and manipulatives- legos and magna-tiles patterns as well. Also I will have the children hold up their hands while touching their thumbs. These are all great visuals to help master the symmetry concept. Feeling both sides of the face is another example using touch.

Poorva says

April 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

Thank you Jamie for the symmetry and the sunscratchers idea! Loved them easy to make it on a Sunday and boys of mine would be excited to this

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## 5 Fun Ways to Teach Symmetry

Symmetry is mathematics in real life.

How do you make it fun?

We’ve got 5 awesome ways to teach symmetry to kids.

## What Is Symmetry?

An item is symmetrical if you can divide it into two identical halves.

Imagine the human face.

If you take a marker and run a straight line from your hairline down to your chin, you have evenly divided your face in half.

Each side has one eye, one ear, half a nose, and half a mouth.

The line you drew is called the line of symmetry (also called the axis of symmetry).

Each side of your face is a mirror image of the other side.

## Why Teach Symmetry?

Symmetry is in the world all around us: insects, starfish, sand dollars, stop signs, sunflowers, skyscrapers, butterflies…the list goes on and on.

Children gravitate toward symmetry as it allows them to see patterns and organize their world.

We create art using symmetry (Da Vinci’s Last Supper is a famous example).

We use our knowledge of symmetry to help us with spatial reasoning tasks: rotating, reflecting, or shifting objects or shapes.

Understanding symmetry is central to the study of geometry, art, chemistry, and physics.

Understanding symmetry is a gateway to higher learning!

## Teaching Symmetry in 5 Fun Ways

The concept of symmetry is a joy to teach, especially when you introduce it in a fun and hands-on way.

Here are 5 ways to make teaching symmetry a hit with kids.

An object is symmetrical along its line of symmetry if both sides are mirror images of each other.

What better way to teach that concept than by using an actual mirror?

These small plastic mirrors are inexpensive and safe for kids to use (no brittle glass).

Simply take a photo or a drawing of a real-life symmetrical object (e.g., ladybug, butterfly, toothbrush, etc.) and place the mirror vertically along the line of symmetry.

Can you see the image when you look in the mirror?

It should look exactly like a real ladybug.

If so, the object is symmetrical and you have found its line of symmetry.

You can use the mirror test to see if something is not symmetrical as well.

Hold the mirror up to a picture of a letter r or p, a picture of a house with one side that’s larger than the other, or a lumpy potato.

Those items are asymmetrical .

Fold a piece of paper in half.

Have children draw a line starting from the fold, gently bending and curving on its way, and then ending back on the fold somewhere.

The simpler the curved line the easier this will be.

Then get a Q-tip and some paint (the thicker and goopier the better).

Trace the line with the gloppy paint.

Then fold the paper in half like a taco, paint side in.

Press the sides together.

Unfold the paper to reveal two mirror images along the fold.

The student has now created a symmetrical picture along an axis of symmetry.

Fold a piece of paper in half and draw a line that starts and ends on the fold.

You could draw half a heart, star, rectangle, butterfly, or flower.

Then let the child cut along the line.

When she unfolds the paper, voila!

A symmetrical shape is revealed.

You can turn this shape into a fun card!

Drawing symmetrical objects is not only great for recognizing symmetry, it is an important workout for the brain.

It’s challenging to do the exact opposite of what you see.

Practice drawing mirror images to complete a symmetrical picture.

You don’t have to create these pictures on your own.

This set of symmetrical snowflake printables is zero prep and a perfect way to chase off winter boredom.

This spring symmetry set is just as engaging; the child creates rainbows, ladybugs, butterflies (and more).

Graph paper is a great tool to help a student draw symmetrical shapes.

Draw a bold line of symmetry in marker, then fill in half a shape along the axis (following the grid lines).

The child uses the graph lines as guides to make the mirror image and complete the symmetrical shape.

## How to Teach Symmetry in a Fun Way

You don’t have to teach symmetry and watch your kids’ eyes glaze over.

These 5 fun ways to teach symmetry are hands-on and engaging.

Try one or all to make this math concept spring to life!

Symmetry is everywhere!

## You May Also Like:

• Activities for Teaching Symmetry
• Math Activities for Preschool
• Valentine’s Day Math Activities

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## Simply Symmetry

In this lesson, children will explore the concept of symmetry and become more aware of symmetry in the world around them.

## Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers (See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

## Content Area:

Learning goals:.

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards :

• Apply transformations and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations
• Use visualization, spatial reasoning and geometric modeling to solve problems

## Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

• Recognizing and creating shapes that have symmetry
• Recognizing and applying slides, flips and turns
• Creating mental images of geometric shapes using spatial memory and spatial visualization
• Recognizing and representing shapes from different perspectives
• Recognizing geometric shapes and structures in the environment and specifying their locations

## Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: gather materials..

• The book,  Seeing Symmetry by Loren Leedy
• A photograph of each child  (The photo should be an 8” x 12” color computer printout cut in half vertically, so that half of the child’s mouth and nose, as well as one eye and one ear, are on each half. Glue one half of the picture onto a blank piece of paper, leaving room for each child to draw in the missing part of his/her face, head and neck.
• Some cut-out shapes (e.g., circle, heart, square, hexagon) that you can use to model the definition of symmetry.
• An easel with a piece of paper that you can use to post your symmetrical shapes and a definition created by the children.

Note : Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

## Step 2: Introduce activity.

• Elicit a definition of symmetry from the children. Have the children gather on the rug and, using the cutout shapes, begin to fold the shapes symmetrically in half. Fold a shape in half, unfold it and draw a line on the fold to emphasize it or cut the shape in half.
• Ask the children: “What do you notice about what I have done to the shape?”
• Say : “I’ve taken this shape of a heart and folded it down the middle.”  Ask : “When I open up the shape, what do you notice?” (You folded the shape in half.)
• Now cut the heart down the middle. Take away one half of the heart and hold up the other half.  Ask : “What do you now notice about this heart?” (It’s half of a heart.)
• Ask : “Do you know what the other half of this heart looks like?”
• Paste half of the heart onto your easel paper. Ask : “Can someone draw the other half of this heart?” Pick a volunteer to come up to the easel and draw in the rest of the heart.
• When the child is finished, ask the child: “How did you know what to draw? Does this side of the heart help you draw the other side of the heart?” You are asking questions that will help the children formulate the definition of symmetry .
• Repeat the same activity with the other shapes. Ask the same questions and model the activities with the shapes.
• Say : “Symmetry is when you draw an invisible line through the middle of a shape and both sides match.”
• Again, point to the shapes on the easel paper to emphasize this definition. Write the definition on the easel paper.

## Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

• Explain to the children that now that they know what the definition of symmetry is, they are going to look for symmetry all around.
• Introduce the book.  Say : “Today we are going to read a book that will make us more aware of the symmetry around us.” Have a small sheet of paper available when you read the book, so that you can cover up half of some of the objects in the book to further emphasize the idea of line symmetry.
• Show the cover of the book.
• Ask : “See the tiger and the butterfly?” Say : “Let’s draw an invisible line down the middle of the tiger and the middle of the butterfly.” Cover up half of the tiger’s face and the butterfly with your piece of paper.
• Ask : “Is the tiger’s face exactly the same on this side of our invisible line as it is on the other side of our line?” (Yes)  Say : “The tiger’s face is symmetrical .”
• Say : “Let’s try the butterfly’s wings and body.” Again, cover up half of the butterfly with your piece of paper.  Ask : “Are the butterfly’s wings the same on this side of our invisible line as they are on the other side of our line?” (Yes) Say : “The butterfly is symmetrical .”
• Say : “Let’s find out what other objects are symmetrical . ”
• Read the book, Seeing Symmetry . Pause at pictures throughout the book and cover half of each picture and ask the children what they see and what they notice. Cover up half of an object before the children see the picture and ask them what they think the other half of the picture will look like. (Go through the book beforehand and tag the objects that you want to highlight with the children. It is helpful to have a variety of objects (an animal, a toy, a design, something from nature). It is important to emphasize that symmetry is all around us.
• Explain that there is even symmetry in all of us. Show the children the pictures of their faces cut in half.
•  Ask : “Do you know what the other side of your face looks like by looking at this half of your face?”
•  Explain that, using the photo halves of their faces as guides, the children will now draw the other halves of their faces.
•  Pose prompting questions to help the children get started.  Ask : “If your eyes are blue, what color are you going to draw your eye? If you have a lot of teeth in your smile, how are you going to draw the other side of your smile?”
•  Display their work. This makes for a cute and engaging bulletin board. It also adds to the content of the display if you can include a picture of the book cover and a brief explanation of the activity.

• Have the children go on a “symmetry hunt ”  around the room, identify symmetrical objects and draw these objects in a notebook. Children should have a math journal readily available to record their mathematical thinking, reasoning and observations. Share their findings. Make a classroom chart of symmetrical objects in the room.
• Give the children gingerbread men cutouts. Divide the cutouts in half the long way. Have the children color in only one side of the gingerbread man’s face, hands, clothes, shoes, etc. When they are finished coloring in and adding detail to one half of the gingerbread man cutouts, have the children switch cutouts and finish what someone else began. The children must replicate the original design so that both halves of the gingerbread men are symmetrical.

## Step 4: Vocabulary.

• Symmetrical :   The two sides of the whole are exactly like one another (e.g.,”Is the tiger’s face exactly the same on this side of our invisible line as it is on the other side of our line? The tiger’s face is symmetrical .”)
• Half : One of two equal parts of the shape, the whole (e.g.,”When we divide this shape in half , we have two of the same shapes on each side of the dividing line.”)

## Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt lesson for toddlers, toddlers may:.

• Need some assistance in recognizing the various details of their photos so that they can better duplicate those details in their mirrored drawing
• Need some additional symmetrical examples shown to them

## Child care providers may:

• Help point out the symmetrical objects within the photo. “You have an eye on this side of your face. Will you need an eye on the other side of your face? Where should that eye go?
• Continue to point out the symmetry in objects around the room or in books

Preschoolers may:.

• Grasp the concept of symmetry and look for additional ways to extend their knowledge
• Have the children go on a “symmetry hunt”   around the room, identify symmetrical objects and draw these objects in a notebook. Children should have a math journal readily available to record their mathematical thinking, reasoning and observations. Share their findings. Make a classroom chart of symmetrical objects in the room.

## Suggested Books

• Seeing Symmetry by Loren Leedy (New York: Holiday House, 2012)
• What is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman (New York: Crabtree Pub Co., 2010)
• It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw (New York: Haperfestival, 1992)

## Music and Movement

• Sing and act out “I’ve Got Two.”

## Outdoor Connections

• Go on a “symmetry hunt” outside . Have the children bring their math journals with them so that they can write down or draw all of the symmetrical objects that they notice. If possible, collect some symmetrical objects to bring inside and investigate further.
• Read What is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman. Allow the children to make connections between what they read in the book and what they see in their outdoor environment.

## Web Resources

• Many activities involving symmetry
• An online reading of Loren Leedy’s book, Seeing Symmetry
• Symmetry games and activities
• Children paint one side of a butterfly’s wings to match the already-colored side in this symmetry game

## Comment on this lesson

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