Children’s Art Week which is organised by Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education, runs from 29th June to 29th July.
The aim of Children’s Art Week is to inspire children to explore different kinds of art and to experiment with a range of media. Families can participate in online workshops led by artists and try their hand at everything from architecture to snow globe making.
Here we share art activities that also develop children’s maths skills. You can try these at home as part of Children’s Art Week or at any time as a way to engage your child with maths. Art and maths are closely related with both subjects requiring the ability to recognise patterns, to understand shapes, symmetry, proportion and measurement and spatial reasoning.
All the activities need very few resources. We hope you and your child have fun!
Tessellation is a pattern made with polygons (shapes with three or more sides) that completely fills a space with no gaps at all. Tessellations can be seen everywhere from the brickwork of your house to the tiles on your bathroom floor!
You will need A4 card, a glue stick, and a selection of pre-cut squares, rectangles and triangles of different colours. Challenge your child to choose shapes and arrange them on their piece of paper without leaving any spaces in between. Once they are happy they glue their shapes in place. See Art Inspired by Klee for photographs and further instructions.
Older children can try more challenging patterns – their imagination is the limit!
Children don’t need to understand the concept of pi to enjoy this activity, so it’s suitable for all ages. For young children it is a good way to help them to remember that pi = 3.14 when they need to know later. Children in Key Stage 2 might benefit from watching Pi for Kids and carrying out measuring activities to develop their mathematical understanding as a supplement to this activity.
Start by printing out the single page pi poster from 10 MinuteMath. Children will also need a piece of graph paper and felt tipped pens. They create a line of skyscrapers by colouring in blocks of squares to match each number in pi – the finished result looks a bit like a bar chart. So they colour 3 blocks, then 1 block, then 4 blocks and so on (3.14…). For instructions accompanied by pictures, visit What do we do all day?
Aboriginal repeating patterns
We love this activity on Nic Hahn’s blogspot. It’s very easy to follow and the effects are beautiful. Young children will learn about repeating patterns, and older children can adapt the activity by making up more complex repeating patterns.
All you need is paper, paint and cotton wool buds. If you don’t have cotton wool buds then finger prints are fine.
This therapeutic activity utilizes children’s measuring and pattern making skills.
You will need a paper plate, either paint or felt tipped pens, scissors, and balls of different coloured wool. Children start by decorating the paper plate however they wish. They then turn the plate into a loom by cutting slits around the rim and weaving wool in and out, before weaving their design between these strands.
Cassie Stephen’s blog spot has some beautiful photographs of finished designs which will fire children’s enthusiasm. However, her instructions are difficult to follow so we recommend watching Paper Plate Weaving before you begin.
Geometric paint by number
Here children think about shapes, use a ruler and show that they know the difference between odd and even numbers.
You will need A4 paper, a pencil, a ruler and paint. Prepare by setting out 10 different paint pots each containing a different colour – or different shades of the same colour. Number the pots 1-10.
Children draw a grid on their paper with each square roughly 4cm x 5cm (4cm across the width of the paper, and 5cm down the length). They then need to draw a large shape right in the middle of the grid – taking up most of the squares. It doesn’t matter if they turn the grid portrait or landscape. On the inside of the shape, in each grid square, they write a different even number to 10. On the outside of the shape, in every grid square, they write a different odd number to 10. Children then paint their designs by matching the numbers on their grid to the numbers on the paint pots.
Clear instructions for this activity and examples can be found on Nic Hahn’s blogspot.
This is a lovely activity for children of all ages. Not only does it takes maths and art outdoors, but children can create designs that are as simple or complex as they like. It is an opportunity for children to practise counting, comparing, matching and sorting, and to learn about symmetry and geometry.
If you’ve just been to the beach and have a collection of seashells then have a look at Nurturestore’s website for instructions and inspiration. Don’t worry if you haven’t been to the beach lately – you can create mandalas from all sorts of natural or household materials or even toys and craft materials. Type ‘mandalas from nature’ into Google Images and you will get the idea!
Does your child need extra help with maths?
If your child is finding particular mathematical concepts challenging or is generally unenthusiastic about the subject, a one-to-one maths tutor can make a real difference to them.
Our highly-qualified tutors are passionate about maths and they want to help children to learn and to enjoy maths just as they do. They take the time to assess children’s mathematical knowledge and to identify where there are gaps so that they can tailor their teaching accordingly.
During the coronavirus pandemic all tutoring sessions take place one-to-one online. Talk to us today at firstname.lastname@example.org