- Learn about symmetry
- Finger paint in 2 or 3 colors
- 2 or 3 small bowls
- Finger-paint paper
- Plastic spoons
Set Up and Prepare
Cover the art table with newspaper. Put a small amount of paint and a spoon in each bowl, and place the bowls and finger-paint paper on the table.
Step 1: Gather at your art table, and offer each child a sheet of finger-paint paper. Explain that children will paint without looking at what they're making. When they finish, there will be a surprise.
Step 2: Together, fold the papers in half, shiny side in, and open them again. Then help children place a few dabs of paint on one side of the papers.
Step 3: Fold the papers in half again. Now children can have fun rubbing their hands over their folded papers. As children rub, ask questions such as "What's happening to the paint? What do you think your picture will look like?"
Step 4: Then unfold the pictures to check children's predictions. Talk about what you see. Do children notice that the pictures are the same on both sides? If so, ask questions such as "How do you think they are the same?"
Step 5: When children have expressed their ideas, you might tell them that a fancy word to describe things that look the same on both sides is symmetry. Let children make more symmetrical finger paintings if they choose. When they're finished, invite them to help you hang pictures on a wall at their eye level or put the pictures in a book.
Extend children's explorations of symmetry by providing small unbreakable mirrors. Children can use them to look at the reflections of book illustrations or to make self-portraits.
Do children understand the concept of symmetry? Do they have theories about why the designs look the same on both sides?