A couple of days ago I released my Basic Symmetry Activity Pack with more than 40 hands-on learning ideas for teaching kids about reflection symmetry.
Today I’m sharing more hands-on symmetry activities for kids using manipulative materials.
Note: For more hands-on math activities and printables, see my Math Activities for Kids page.
Reflection symmetry is the quality of having identical, facing parts. Thus, a symmetrical object can be divided into parts that are mirror images of each other.
One goal when teaching symmetry is to help children see symmetry in images and real-world objects. This can be done by having children create symmetrical designs and by having them find the line of symmetry in real objects.
I sat down with my son one day to do some hands-on symmetry activities using parts from our Spielgaben set.
Create symmetrical designs
Symmetry is an important concept in art. Artists play with symmetry in various ways to affect the look and feel of their work. Creating symmetrical designs allows children to play with symmetry and art together.
I built a line down the middle of a grid using long, black sticks. I then placed two shapes on one side of the line and challenged my son to build the reflection.
We kept adding more shapes to our design.
And we added some more. He was able to build the symmetrical reflection with ease, but other kids may need some support if they are just learning this concept or if they struggle with spatial awareness.
After building symmetrical reflections, we tried something else.
Finding the line of symmetry in 3-D objects
Another great skill for children is to be able to find the line of symmetry in both 2-D and 3-D objects. There are a number of great activities for finding the line of symmetry in 2-D objects in my Basic Symmetry Activity Pack.
In this activity, however, my son worked on finding lines of symmetry in 3-D objects.
I handed my son a cube and some rubber bands, and I asked him to use a rubber band to indicate the line of symmetry on the cube.
He found the first line easily.
But I challenged him to find more lines of symmetry on the cube.
It took him a bit of time to find the diagonal lines of symmetry, but he did it.
Then I handed him a cylinder and again I asked him to mark the lines of symmetry with rubber bands.
He found one line of symmetry around the circumference of the barrel. And then he found lots of lines of symmetry on the vertical plane.
Fun fact: A cylinder has an infinite number of lines of symmetry.
If you enjoy these activities, you’ll also enjoy my Basic Symmetry Activity Pack with more than 40 hands-on learning ideas for teaching kids about reflection symmetry or my Advanced Symmetry Activity Pack with 20+ hands-on activities for teaching kids about rotational symmetry.
More resources for teaching math
More math activities from Gift of Curiosity:
- Basic Symmetry Activity Pack
- Building a 3D rainbow measurement activity
- Adding with chain links
- Teaching combinations of 10
- Introduction to probability
- Math practice with numbered dice
- Put the numbers on the clothesline
- Road numbers