I love super simple crafts that 1) don’t require me to go to the store to hunt down materials 2) can be completed by a preschooler with minimal help. Some might call it laziness. I call it….okay, laziness. Big Sis and I saw a paper bird in a book and we made some changes and came up with this:
Big Sis’s bird is in front and I like it better than mine. Humph. This is why preschoolers should be doing the crafts and not me.
So here’s how you make your very own symmetry shape bird:
- Cut out large circle and two small triangles from blue paper. Then one more small triangle from yellow paper. To make it easy (and teach symmetry), fold the paper and cut out half of the shape. Unfold to see that both sides are the same. Talk about the line of symmetry.
- Glue the yellow triangle and one blue triangle on top of the circle by lining up the fold lines. Triangles should point opposite ways. Talk about line of symmetry again.
- Turn over.
- Cut other blue triangle in half (on the fold line) to make two wings. Glue on wings (symmetrically of course).
- Draw eyes. Draw lines or marks on the wings and tail. Talk about symmetry and drawing the same thing on both sides.
- Re-fold on the line of symmetry and BAM you are finished! Now let your bird take flight!*
- blue and yellow paper
*Birds are made of paper and will not actually “fly.” But still a fun craft, right?
Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert is a wonderful autumn book. The unique illustrations show people and animal shapes made out of leaves. What a perfect fall activity! We headed to the park to gather our materials. The girls loved picking out leaves, acorns, sticks, grass, pine needles and cones to take home. I made sure I got doubles of ones they liked so we could make symmetrical arms and legs. (TIP: The inside cover of the book provides a cheat sheet of the names of trees, in case you are nature-challenged like me.)
Start off by recreating designs in the book. It seems easy, but finding similar shapes and colors and copying a picture can be tricky for little ones. Elementary kids should be able to do it without help. Then see if they can make up their own shapes! Play a game and see if you can guess what animal they are trying to make.
Talk about symmetry and see if you can make designs with one or two lines of symmetry.
Play with the leaves and then put them back in nature when you are finished. I love easy clean-up! Or you can press the leaf design by putting books on top of it. Leave it (ha!) for a few days, then iron it between two sheets of wax paper, and you’ll have a longer-lasting shape.
Ask preschoolers questions about their Leaf Man. What is his name? Where would he go on his adventure? Who would he meet? What will happen to him in the wind? Elementary kids might be inspired to write their own Leaf Man story. They can use their own pressed leaves as illustrations or you can take pictures and print them off.