The Summer season is approaching and we are at the moment between the end of Spring and the beginnings of Summer. For most areas, it is time to go out and explore. This would be a great time either go look for spirals, or create them with your children.
There are so many, many things that grow in spirals. You can talk about the solar system that we live in to your child and show how the planets, starting from the center that is the Sun and show how the movement is in a spiral, while each planet does move around the Sun in an elliptical motion, the whole system moves inward, out. Because we cannot take to the outskirts of our solar system, we can show them how living things in the world we live in also grow in a spiral fashion. We can also make spirals for art. 🙂
Look at the Fern, in the picture above. The way that this Fern grows is first starting in a Spiral and then opening up by unraveling itself. If you look closely to the ends of this Fern, you can see little tiny spirals that are waiting to unravel. I am sure there is a better scientific way to describe this, but I am here to show you how you can teach your child about different shapes, which includes spirals 🙂
There are many shells that have circular spirals and are fun to look at and find on the beach. There are also shells that are more conic, cones, that form in a spiral fashion. So, if you live near a beach, or a craft store, or dollar store, go see what you can find.
GLASS BEAD SPIRAl ART:
We get a lot of things from the nearby dollar store for arts and crafts and such. These glass beads are so beautiful to use to make art with, especially spirals. This gives the child and you a chance to figure out how to space things out so that everything is symmetric, or balanced on both sides. For children who are not able to draw spirals in the beginning, this gives them an opportunity to create one with stones. Glass beads are not required, but you get the idea. You can even print this one out and start from the first light blue glass bead from the center and start singing the ABCs. You have enough light blue beads to complete the whole song. 🙂
There are some leaves, that when they fall off the branch and begin to dry, they make spirals. If you are living in the Southwest, you might be more familiar with these leaves. They are all over our yard and they dry up in little beautiful spirals.
CAROLINA JASMINE VINES:
These vines have these yellow trumpet like flowers that hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees love when they are in bloom. The interesting way that Carolina Jasmine grows is how the vines spiral out when they grow. This is how the Carolina Jasmine grows in different directions, whether on a lattice, around a tree, or attaching to a bush. The Carolina Jasmine does not have any “grippers” or “creepers” to attach to a wall or a tree, it actually grows in spirals, as you can see on the picture above. All you need to do is just pay attention. 🙂
Cabbage! Slice up your red/purple cabbage to reveal that not all spirals are formed by circles. If you look at the center, you see a five-pointed star. On the outer perimeter of the star is a pentagon. This pentagon rotates and rotates and you see a spiral as well 🙂 Give this to your child to trace the spiral with their fingers. If you don’t have cabbage, print this picture out, or show this to them on the screen!
SYCAMORE LEAVES SPIRAL ART:
This photo of the spiral made from Sycamore leaves is not a new addition to this blog. This was a short activity to involve my children in when working on the idea of smallest to biggest. Do this with dried leaves, fresh leaves, flowers, cereal, or rocks. The kids really liked this one, but you may find that keeping this as few of leaves as possible will guarantee that the kids will finish it.
Something To Think About:
How will this prepare them for Kindergarten, or for a mathematics readiness test? It does something even more important than that. You showing them that the world they live in has mathematics gives them relevance and excitement. Learning mathematics and exploring mathematics is not all about formulas, it is really about understanding how much our world lives in mathematics. Whether it is how a plant spreads out in growth, the food we eat, or artwork that we create, the more involved we feel in something we are learning, the more we lead ourselves to a better understanding of it.
My oldest son might just say “Ya, ya, I know it’s a spiral,” but I will keep doing this over and over when I get the chance to just take a moment to point things out in his world. It is like showing a child where vegetables come from and starting a garden, or picking from a garden. It offers an opportunity to become more connected with the world. So go outside and have some fun and take a few moments to point out the spirals that you see. Enjoy the time you have with your children and make it fun. 🙂