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
- A leaf!
- Paint marker (affiliate link) or paintbrush and paint
- Assorted blocks and toys
Ready? Gather up your preschooler and get ready for learning symmetry!
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!