“What is symmetry?” is a question you might hear in biology class, art class, or math class. It’s a concept worth learning about that occurs in so many arenas. Symmetry, in layman’s terms, is the quality of being made up of exactly similar parts facing each other or arranged around an axis.
Once kids know this simple definition they will begin to see symmetrical creations everywhere, both in nature and in art! Designs most pleasing to the human eye are often the most symmetrical.
While discussing a concept is good seeing it in action is even better. Give your kids a chance to practice the concept of symmetry with this free printable.
Draw lines of symmetry and complete the other half of symmetrical shapes.
Add this printable to an art notebook or journal to keep track of concepts learned for easy review and referral.
For more on symmetry check out these symmetry drawing prompts and this symmetrical butterfly painting with full video tutorial.
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In order to drive any concept home kids need to do it, to have a chance to practice the idea in action! This is where the symmetry “name creature comes” in. This simple project isn’t new but it is a super easy, fun, and direct way to teach the concept of symmetry.
Start with a piece of white paper folded in half long ways. In elementary teacher speak this is the “hot dog way.”
On one side of the fold have students write their name with the bottom sitting on the fold. If your kids can write in cursive have them do so. If they can’t they can still do this project. Instruct them to write in print letters and help them join them together if needed.
Write big. This is vital to the success of the project. Write big.
Any “hangers” that go below the fold can just be erased and ignored. (Think G’s, J’s, & Y’s.) This will drive some kids crazy. Assure them by the time they are done they will barely recognize their name. It’s okay if it does not look perfect.
Transferring the symmetry magic….
Once you have a name written nice and large it’s time to transfer the image to the opposite side of paper to get that symmetrical image.
This is easy and requires no special transfer paper. Make sure the pencil line of your drawing is nice and thick. Close the paper and use the closed lid of a Sharpie to rub over the pencil line. You will be rubbing on the back of the side of the paper that has no image. You should be able to see through that one layer of paper to see where your lines are.
That little bit of pressure will transfer enough pencil lead to the blank side of the paper that your image can be seen.
Transforming a name into a symmetrical creature…
Once the name image is transferred you have this weird, awesome symmetrical shape. Set your imagination loose as you add parts, patterns, and pieces to your design to turn it into a imaginary creature.
Use the same method as above. Draw only on one side and transfer the image to the opposite side.
Add color and more color…
One thing I love about starting this symmetry art project with your child’s name is it gives the kid a place to start. A blank page can be intimidating. A name is an easy place to start!
Once the creature is happy it’s time to add some color. I love Sharpies. I have let my kids use them since they were toddlers with no lasting ill effects.
Outline that crazy creature with Sharpie. This will help even up the pencil lines that are extra thick on one side and barely visible on the other.
Add any color that you like. I recently did this with a class of kids. We used crayons simply for the fact that I knew they would burn through my markers. At home we used markers to add details and color. Use what you have!
Does your kiddo like video art lessons….
I made a free video tutorial of this symmetry art project just for you! Grab your pencil, a permanent marker, and some colorful markers and have a seat. Work alongside your kiddo or let me do the instruction while you go start dinner!
This free video drawing tutorial is about seven minutes long but you can count on the project taking about thirty minutes or so. Hit pause whenever you need to and have fun!
More video art lessons for you…
If you enjoyed this video art tutorial be sure to check out this directed drawing flower lesson. It uses the exact same materials as this lesson so you’re all set!
Take it a step farther with this free mini course Turning a Shape Into a Form. This mini course is totally free. It’s hosted on Teachable and will walk your kiddo through the concepts of shape and from with a taste of art history and a hands on drawing exercise! They’ll learn technique that can be applied to all their own artwork!
Cut out your symmetry creatures…
I like the look of cutting these symmetrical creatures out. It gets rid of any smears or wrinkles that might have happened along the way. It does, however, take some scissor control to tackle all those curves so do what works for your child.
I do love taking that extra finishing step and making kid’s artwork totally display worthy. Mount it on construction paper, frame it, crop it; and then hang it up. Kids, little ones especially, are so proud of their creations. Make a spot for them to display their artwork and show you share in their enthusiasm and value their creativity!
Repeat after me; this is about raising kids that are creative and value the arts, not turning out masterpieces.
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