Monday, July 8, 2013

Friday's Art Smarts: Hexagons

Well, Friday was a lot of fun. 

Dave had the day off. We woke up late, we played in the pool. My mom and sister came over before nap time (the key word here is before), and Dave and I took off on our bikes. We rode north on the beach. There were so many beach-goers that at one point we had to ride single file and zig-zag between everyone. Then we came south again on first street, a street that cars are allowed to drive on but really belongs to those on bikes and pedestrians. We visited with some good friends who were in the middle of laying new floors in their kitchen. Then we came home and got ready for dinner out and a movie. 

Really, my mom and my sister were so awesome to give us a whole afternoon and evening off, something we haven't been getting a lot of recently. 

And if they hadn't come over before nap time, then we wouldn't have been able to ride our bikes, and I've been craving bike riding time lately. You don't realize how much you miss stuff like that until you get it again, you know? But nap time is when I usually publish a new post.

Now you know why I'm posting Friday's Art Smarts on Monday. Boo for being late. Yay for better late than never! (And also time off.)

Alright, on to the meat and potatoes.

Hexagons. What a fun little shape. I didn't really appreciate hexagons as a child, but as an adult, I've come to love these little guys. Have you seen these quilts?

I've been seeing them a lot lately, and I am in love with the design. It's so eye-catching. Almost makes me want to try to make one myself. But alas, I'm not really a quilter.

I am, however, not willing to shelf that design just yet. What if we used the same concept to create some math art? That would be a lot of fun, wouldn't it? Yes! It would!


Many hexagons cut out of pretty papers (download free stencil here)
art paper


Ahead of time, use the stencil to trace and cut out your hexagons. If you have a very particular artist, like I do, you may want to involve him or her in choosing the paper that gets used.

We used all kinds of paper for this project, including scrapbook paper, old Christmas cards, paper bags with cool designs, and paper that I had block printed years ago. I never throw anything away. Sometimes it's a curse...and sometimes it's a blessing ;)


We started by reviewing basic shapes, including squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles. Both of my kids are pretty solid on their shapes, so this didn't take long. Then I asked each one to grab one of the hexagons out of the basket and take a look at it.

We counted the sides. We counted to corners. We noticed that there were the same number of corners as sides. We also noted that all the sides were the same length. Then I took a few hexagons and showed them how they "fit" together to make larger designs and let them play with that idea themselves. 

After they had played for a few minutes, I introduced the glue and told them that they could create their own design using any of the hexagons in the basket that they liked. 

They immediately got to work.

The only rule here is that each new hexagon has to touch another hexagon in some way; you can't glue one off to the side by itself. 

Other than that, it's up to the kids how the project goes.

At first, I did try to get them to leave some space between the hexagons to create a similar effect as the quilt above. But I quickly realized that they would have an easier time - and the finished piece would look neater - if they just let the shapes touch. So we went with that idea instead. 


Daniel, age 3

Natalie, age 4

This project was a huge success! They loved making a pattern with the hexagons. Plus it was super easy and simple to set up and didn't require an extra trip to the store (bonus!). I've been thinking that I might extend this idea to include all the pattern block shapes: triangles, trapezoids, squares, rhombuses, etc. I think they would have just as much fun with that!

As always, let me know if you try this project with your kiddos, and if you blog about it, I'd love to see what you've done!!

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  1. Ah now this looks fun - I'll remember this one for the summer holidays!

    1. Cool! It was a lot of fun, and so easy! Check back...we may add other shapes and try this project again :)

  2. I love using shapes to create pictures. I love tangrams. I found you at Take a Look Tuesday.
    Janis Author of Tadeo Turtle

    1. I love tangrams, too - so much fun :) Thanks for reading!


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