To engage both my kindergartener and my third grader in an art activity that allows for individual creativity, as well as reviewing a few geometry concepts, we spent the afternoon working on these Geometry Prints and Drawing Prompts.
While a kindergartner’s geometry study primarily focuses on identifying two- and three-dimensional shapes, early elementary geometry delves into identifying specific geometric features, measuring angles, and calculating perimeters and areas. Through simple hands-on construction of various three dimensional shapes, this activity visually links several 2D shapes and 3D volumes, while allowing children to gain a better understanding of geometry concepts including perpendicular versus parallel lines, angle, perimeter, area and volume.
Using only cardboard tubes, thin cardboard boxes and scraps, and a pair of scissors, we were able to make a variety geometric “solids.” By folding cardboard tubes in half, thirds or quarters we created and compared a circle, square, eclipse and triangle all with the same perimeter. By slicing vertically through an end of one of our geometric “solids,” we could unroll and extend the “perimeter” into a “line” and easily measure the length.
Taking advantage of the flexibility of our building materials, we also shifted the sides of a parallelogram, noting and measuring the shifting angels. By flattening and then releasing a cardboard tube, we quickly transformed a circle into an eclipse. Cutting along the edge of a tube, we transformed a circle into a spiral, then tightened it up to experiment with decreasing the diameter and perimeter of the circle.
After constructing the cardboard three dimensional shapes, we used these shapes as stamps, visually linking several 2D shapes to the related 3D geometric solids. We made a square from a cube, a circle from a cylinder. Further exploring the relation of shapes and perimeters, we created patterns of alternating eclipses and circles with the same perimeter and a line of shifting parallelograms with matching ends, among other geometric designs.
By randomly layering various shapes and colors, we also experimented with mixing and building colors while creating new shapes where the stamps overlapped.
Combining a few shapes in a sequence or pattern, we played with radial and axial symmetry. After the paint dried, my daughter chose to add a bit of zentagle-inspired detail.
Having mastered the basics of cardboard tube geometry, we made additional shapes to stamp, too. After the paint dried, we added details to the shapes using colored pencils and fine tip markers. We challenged each other to create something new from the stamped shapes and patterns. While some shapes (like the “fish” below) seemed quite obvious, other detailing results were surprising.
Creating “fish” from eclipses and triangles turned out to be a favorite. We continued to experiment with color mixing and building shapes by using cotton swabs to stamp scales and paint details on the tails. After cutting out the many fish, we layered tissue paper make an ocean background.
For more creative fun with geometry, learn how to construct colorful towers and arches with Paint Chip Building Blocks! Looking for more printmaking ideas? See how to combine natural materials with cardboard scraps to create Celery Print Flowers.