“Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?” – M. C. Escher
No, this isn’t a trick question, just one of the many random sayings of artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, the man whose work was based on – math! Yes, Escher used concepts like symmetry, reflections, perspective and of course, tessellations. And that’s what we’re going to focus on today – some cool tessellation projects for kids!
What are Tessellations?
A tessellation is a combination of shapes that fit together perfectly without any gaps., much like a jigsaw puzzle. The result is a symmetric design of repeating patterns, which may feature animals, persons or anything else. Brick walls, tiled floors and the honeycomb pattern in bee hives are all tessellations. Some famous tessellations can also be found on historical buildings.
Well, now that we know what tessellations are, how about putting our newfound knowledge into practice and try some cool projects? Here is a collection of fun tessellation projects for kids to play and have fun with!
11 Fun Tessellation Projects for Kids
Tessellations are like jigsaw puzzles, so why not have a tessellation puzzle? Frugal Fun 4 Boys has the perfect puzzle that you can print out, color and cut. Then all you need to do is sit and assemble them into one solid work of art! You can either use them as reusable puzzle pieces or stick them on a board and use as wall art.
If you can tolerate the occasional brick under your foot, it’s worth stocking up on Legos! These little colored bricks are awesome learning tools, as this tessellation activity from Little Bins for Little Hands shows us. The symmetry of a Lego brick lends itself perfectly to this activity!
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If your little one is starting to learn about tessellations, then maybe these coloring pages from Krokotak are better for them to start out. There are quite a few options to choose from too. Coloring these pages is also a great way for kids to relax and unwind – plus quiet time for Mom!
Once your kids are familiar with tessellations and have finished with the coloring pages, let them make their own tessellation art! This project from Classic Play shows you how to make repetitive patterns with shape blocks and them turn them into classy works of art!
Enzo is a magician’s son, although he’s more interested in math than magic! When the local shoemaker is asked to make twelve identical pairs of shoes out of a single piece of leather, his sister goes to Enzo for help. Can Enzo figure out a way to do it? Will he use math or magic to help the shoemaker? Find out in this cute little book about tessellations!
If you have older kids or the younger ones are familiar enough with tessellations, you can try this open-ended puzzle from Almost Unschooled, made from cereal boxes. Cut up different geometric shapes and let the kids put them together any way they like to create a tessellating pattern of their own. Let’s see what they come up with!
Tessellations are usually done in 2D, on a flat surface, but what are rules if they’re not challenged? This craft from Tessellations.org is a dodecahedron, a box/ball made of 12 pentagons. Don’t worry if it looks complicated, you can download a free paper craft kit to make one yourself.
Got a lot of paint chips lying around? Then this paint chip greeting card from Chica and Jo is a great way to put your tessellating skills into practice! Do remember that tessellations require identical shapes to be repeated, so when cutting out your paint chips, make sure they’re the same size and shape although you can go crazy with the colors.
This binder cover from Indhi Downie features tessellating triangles and will make school work so much more fun! She’s gone for a pastel color scheme, but you can use anything. She’s got a full pictorial tutorial, so check it out!
Okay, we’ve had enough math for a day, now it’s time for a snack! Why not try these tessellating two-tone brownies from Kitchen Explorers? Inspired from the book, ‘Eat your Math Homework’, these brownies are just genius, and pretty easy to make!
11. Tessellation Art by students of ArtsyCraftsyOnline
We first saw these gorgeous artworks on Kanchan Yadav’s facebook page ArtsyCraftsyOnline. Kanchan Yadav is the founder of “Artsy Craftsy”, an art training enterprise for working professionals especially ladies who want to revive their long lost love for painting.
You can reach them at – www.facebook.com/artsycraftsy/online & www.artsycraftsy.in
Have a small tessellation session at home with your kids before they get started on the more complex projects. Here are some tips by Kanchan –
- Let the kids draw squares of the same size, either free hand or using measurements.
- Guide them to draw shapes in each box so the edges of the shape fit into each other. Outline with black permanent marker.
- Now choose two contrasting colors and fill them in the shapes, alternating colors.
- For younger kids (below 5 years) shapes can be cut from colored origami sheets and then stuck next to each other without leaving any space.
Remember, contrast is important in tessellation, whether they’re in color, value or tone. Contrast epitomizes the dualism of negative and positive space, a concept that’s brilliantly brought out in tessellation art. So let’s get ready to repeat ourselves and go tessellating!!