I love combining math with other subjects, but I don’t know that there is anything more fun for kids than combining math and art. What kid doesn’t love to get creative and messy while learning important math concepts? One concept that is especially fun and easy to introduce to young kids to is symmetry. There are tons of symmetry art ideas out there, but one that has been especially fun for my kids is this melted crayon symmetry art project.
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Besides the cool math involved, one reason I loved this project was that it was so very easy. I read about it in the book, The Little Hands Art Book by Judy Press, and decided to try it and explain the math behind it for my kids.
It didn’t require much prep, and didn’t take long to complete, but the kids LOVED the results! I am not what you would call an artsy mom, and I don’t
always ever have time for long and involved art projects. So this was a hit!
Materials Needed for Melted Crayon Symmetry Art Project:
To Prep Ahead of Time:
- Make sure all the paper is off of whatever color crayons your kids want to use
- Tear pieces of wax paper for each kid
- Gather all materials together
Once you have all the necessary pieces, you’re ready to start creating! (You may want to go ahead and turn your iron on so it will be ready once you’re ready to melt the shavings.)
The first thing you’ll want your kids to do is fold their paper in half and make a nice crease. Explain that this will be their line of symmetry and that they need to keep all their crayon shavings on one side of the line.
Then it’s time for the fun part: peeling the crayons! With a little guidance, my kids (almost 6 and 7) were able to do this on their own. If you have younger ones, let them pick colors and tell you where to add shavings as you peel the crayons for them.
It may also be easier if you have bigger or fatter crayons. Keeping hold of the crayon was tricky, and because they were so thin they began to break after a few minutes of peeling.
Once your kids have all the colors arranged the way they want, carefully fold the paper in half and transfer it to your ironing board. This was the trickiest part, because I didn’t want the shavings to fall out.
I used a small ironing board, and didn’t have any trouble. Because I had the iron on a low setting (with no steam) I didn’t need anything in between the iron and the paper.
Be careful what you place it on though, because some of the crayon shavings came out the side and melted onto the ironing board.
I tried ironing a couple of different ways, and I suggest more of a pressing of the iron than sliding it across the paper. When I slid it around, the colors smushed together quite a bit, and I liked the look of it better when I simply pressed the iron down and then lifted it before moving to another section.
You also want to press and hold to make sure the crayon melts to the opposite side so that you get a nice symmetrical image. As soon as all the crayon shavings are melted, slowly open the paper up to reveal the final product.
After the art is done and has cooled down, take some time to ask your kids what they notice. See how they explain the symmetry in their own words.
Some Ways to Explain Symmetry to Kids:
- It’s like a reflection in a mirror
- One side is the same as the other
- The image is flipped
- Each corresponding part of the picture is the same distance from the line of symmetry
If you have older kids, you may want to measure different parts of the image to show they are equidistant from the line of symmetry.
And most importantly, when everyone is done creating and has amazing math art pieces, find a place to display them proudly! 😉
Want a wide variety of symmetry learning ideas that are ready to use right now? Grab my complete set of Exploring Symmetry Lessons! This symmetry unit begins with open exploration of symmetry in nature, and progresses to symmetry vocabulary and even symmetrical area challenges for older kids. Learn more by clicking the button below:
What are some of your favorite ways to incorporate math and art? Share your ideas in the comments! Or follow my Math + Art Pinterest Board, where I save all my favorite ideas!
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