Stencils are an easy and fun way to engage in creative art projects with your kids. They can be made out of cheap materials you probably have at home and used more than once. Using shapes to create geometric art is a beautiful way to find the art in math! In this post I will explain how to create some shape stencils for your kids and how to create some math art with them. I will also give you a fun follow-up activity with questions to help sneak in some math skills and vocabulary. An easy math art project that can be used for quiet time and as a bonus, it is fun and relaxing for adults too!
Creating your shape stencils for your math art project
The first step is to create some stencils! If your kids are old enough they can definitely help with this part too! Here are the materials you will need:
Materials to make stencils:
- Paper/poster paper/construction paper
- Self-adhesive laminating paper (optional)
I made stencils out of paper that I laminated because that is what I had at home at the time. You can use thicker paper or if you don’t want to laminate but would like to reuse your stencils here are some great options:
- Old waterproof/leakproof tablecloth or placemats
- Plastic sleeves (the sturdier the better)
Materials for your math art:
- Colors (paint, markers, crayons…)
- Paper/Canvas/Construction paper/Cardboard box (anything to draw on)
Steps to create easy shape stencils:
- Decide how many and how big your stencils will be and create a grid on your paper*
- Within each space draw or trace a shape
- Cut along the grid lines
- If you are planning to laminate your stencils go ahead and do that before cutting out the shapes. If you are using waterproof or plastic material skip this step
- Cut out your shapes
*If you are planning to use normal paper and have a printer at hand you can use my free template. It has all the shapes ready to go! Just print, cut, and laminate. For added fun print them on colorful paper! Click on the image to get the pdf:
Math art project with DIY Shape stencils
How to create math art with your shape stencils:
- Now that you have prepared your stencils, have your child choose some shapes to start their project
- Have them use the stencils to fill their paper by just tracing within the stencil but not coloring it in
- Have the shapes overlap and turned around in different positions for fun effects
- Let kids explore and use their imagination to create beautiful designs. They can try for patterns, abstract art, or create objects or sceneries
- Once the paper is full of the outlined shapes or the design is finished, have your kid color the spaces between shapes! Colorful or monochrome… there are many possibilities to explore!
Depending on your child’s age you can sneak in some math skills and vocabulary through questions. Here are some suggestions to get the conversation going while you admire the art:
- Can you see any parallel/perpendicular/interescting lines?
- What shapes do you see the most?
- Can you find any right/obtuse/acute angles?
- Are there any complementary/supplementary angles?
Math Art Gallery Follow-up Activity
If you are doing this in a classroom or with more than one kid you can showcase your childrens’ art and have some fun answering these questions and talking about art as you walk around the room. Just like in an art gallery! Get all dressed up, role play, make it fun and you will find your kids having fun with math!
Store those lovely stencils and make sure to reuse them to create more beautiful math art projects with your kids!