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Interactive Math Symmetry Activities for Young Kids

by Erica Loop

According to the child development experts at PBS Parents, by the start of kindergarten -- typically around age 5 -- young kids are beginning to understand, identify and create shapes and designs that have symmetry. While the idea of symmetry, or a reflected image, is completely common to most adults, your little learner might still struggle with this mathematical idea. Interactive math symmetry activities can help your young child better understand this concept and refine her math skills.

Printing Projects

Whether you use paint, ink or any other kid-friendly medium, printing projects provide an easy -- and interactive -- way to teach young children about the math concept of symmetry. Help your child to pick a symmetrical design in a stencil, template or cookie cutter. He won't always have the ability to identify each and every piece of symmetry, making it your job to guide him toward reflection-type pieces. For example, a diamond shape is symmetrical, while an Easter bunny with one ear up and one ear down isn't. Have your child draw or trace the design onto a piece of card stock paper. Cut the symmetrical picture out and fold it in half at the mid-section. Dip the front of the folded object into tempera or finger paint. Fold a piece of white construction paper in half and press the paint-covered object onto it, lining it up with the crease. Press the paper together to transfer the print onto the other side, making a symmetrical picture.

Line of Symmetry

If you are looking for a truly basic symmetry activity for your young child, try a simple line game. Give your child a variety of symmetrical pictures. Either draw these yourself, have your child trace them from stencils or cut them from magazines. Easy examples are symmetrical-looking faces, shapes such as hearts and diamonds, or leaves. Have your child identify the line of symmetry, or middle section, and mark it. Give her a bright colored marker to draw the line, showing that she understands how this math concept works.

Eye Spy

Symmetry is all around your child. Look out the window and find the symmetry in fall leaves, spring flowers or even your neighbor's house design. Play a fun-filled eye spy game in which he needs to "spy" as many symmetrical items as he can. Try this activity in your house as an antidote to a blah, rainy day, go out to the backyard or take a trek around town looking for reflection objects. Document his learning and take photos of the symmetrical objects for him to re-identify later.

Complete the Drawing

Help your child to come up with her own symmetry ideas by completing a drawing that you start. Fold a piece of paper in half and draw one half of a symmetrical picture. Younger kids might need a simpler approach such as half of a triangle or a heart, while older kids who are nearing -- or are at -- school age can work on a more complex picture such as half of a face. Give your child crayons, pencils or markers to complete the symmetrical look.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

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