Leaf Symmetry Activity

As the leaves begin to change colors outside, it’s the perfect time to look at them up close! This activity is a great way to combine math and art together as well as start the conversation around symmetry. Children will be looking for mirror images everywhere!

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Activity PDF

Can you draw the mirror image of a leaf?

Symmetry is a similarity or balance between different parts of an object. People, animals, and plants can be symmetrical in interesting ways. In a sense, it’s all around us! Children will love searching for different shaped leaves outside and tracing the mirror image.

🍎Apples to Apples: This activity is great to extend with apples as each apple has a unique shape and pattern when you cut it down the middle. Extend the activity with other fruits!

🏗️ Build-a-symmetry: Introduce this topic with simple, concrete examples through Legos and building blocks. Children will be able to visually see the patterns in the symmetrical shapes and designs.  

💪 Got a Pro? If your child is really grasping the concept of symmetry, encourage them to create extensive shapes and designs of symmetry using multiple elements in nature (leaves, twigs, apples, rocks, etc.).

Materials

For this activity you will need:

Leaves 

Pencil 

Pencil crayons/crayons/markers

Scissors

Clear tape

Learning Outcomes

Domain

Cognitive

Skills

Identifying Patterns

Indicators:

Identifying, creating, copying and extending a variety of patterns (e.g. sound, color, shape, number, etc).

Instructions

Step 1:

Start by discussing the topic of symmetry and how objects can be symmetrical. Giving a few examples first of clearly symmetrical objects/drawings will be helpful for children to understand this concept. 

Step 2:

Next, go outside and start collecting leaves. The more variety in shapes and sizes the better!

Step 3:

Once you have all the leaves, lay them out and let your child choose one to trace. Cut the leaf down the middle (top to bottom) and tape one side of the leaf down to the paper in the middle.

Step 4: 

Encourage your child to use the pencil first and trace the outline of the other half of the leaf on the paper.

Step 5:

Once they’re happy with the half of the leaf they traced, encourage them to trace where the lines on the inside part of the leaf would go and color it in.

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  Extend this activity by changing the symmetrical line to be diagonal or through the middle (left to right).

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Holding a pencil and drawing may be quite tricky for them. Start by cutting several leaves in half and encouraging the child to find the matching pieces first.

Playful Questions

How would our drawing look if we cut the leaf into 4 pieces?

If we were to take away the leaf half, could you draw it still?

What would our drawing look like if we keep rotating the leaf around in a circle?

Can you find 5 objects around you that are symmetrical?

Can you find an object around you that is not symmetrical?