Five fun art projects that help your child learn maths

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This is the second of a two-part series about making maths fun through art.

Want to learn how to integrate art and maths? Read on for these five interesting – and easy – ways to get your kids talking about maths concepts!

Fraction collage
Inspired by Paul Klee’s Castle and Sun, this craft project can improve your child’s understanding of fractions. Cut up lots of coloured basic shapes (squares and rectangles) out of construction paper, and have your child glue them to a sheet of white paper, without overlapping or gaps.

Through this, your child learns about basic geometry and how areas and shapes interact. Older kids can learn about fractions; for example, ask them “How much of the page is red?”

An irrational skyline
The concept of irrational numbers can be hard to grasp, but this easy art project allows kids to appreciate how they neither end nor repeat.

Start with a printout of your favourite irrational number – we like to use pi. Using either graph paper or a ruler, fill in your skyline using the digits of pi as the heights for your buildings – keep going until you run out of paper or patience. When you’re done, paint a beautiful sunset behind the skyline.

Make your own tile
Tessellation – when a shape is repeated so that it covers a plane without any gaps or overlaps – is a fun way to learn about geometry and angles. Explore regular tessellations by cutting out copies of a basic shape (such as a triangle, hexagon, square or these combinations) and using them to fill a space.

A more creative way is to create your very own unique tessellation stamp! Follow the instructions to make a tessellation, then transfer your design to a piece of foam and cut it out. Glue the foam shape to a handle (an old medicine bottle works well) and stamp away.

Shell patterns
This is a fun activity to do at the beach, and best of all, it can be enjoyed by children of all ages. First, gather shells and sort them into groups according to their shape, colour and size. You can also use this opportunity to give a small science lesson about sea creatures and shells, or to practise counting.

Then, start to build your mandala or pattern. Create a basic flower or circle shape then add on your own designs as you go, keeping your overall shape symmetrical. This activity covers many areas of maths such as counting, patterns, comparing and matching, fractions, and understanding the link between radius and circumference.

Origami – the Japanese art of folding paper – can be a wonderful tool for exploring various maths concepts. It can be used to learn how to measure and bisect an angle, for example. You can also use origami techniques to fold a pretty polygon and in the process, learn all about surface area, angles and geometry.

This site is a wonderful resource for origami patterns – start with the basic ones, such as a cube, and then work your way up into the more complex ones. While you are creating your origami polygons, talk to your child about shapes and angles, and how these are linked to the shape you are making.

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