Math for Kids: What is Symmetry?

Today we offer an exciting way to teach math for kids – grab a deck of cards!  If your child has ever wanted to know, “What is Symmetry?” then we have some cool math activities for you.  But please don’t blame Kids Activities Blog if you end up playing 52 card pickup too.

Playing cards are a fun way to teach math for kids!

Math for Kids

A pack of playing cards can be used in many ways to support a child’s mathematical development. Playing cards are brilliant because it’s an easy resource to get a hold of, and in the eyes of most children, playing cards are fun and non-threatening.

I remember using playing cards when learning my number facts as a child. While card games are great for improving children’s understanding of numbers, they can also be used to develop a child’s geometrical thinking.

Geometry is mainly about classifying shapes and changing shapes. It’s about recognizing both equivalences (what has stayed the same), and transformations (what has changed).

Deck of Cards

This activity develops a child’s geometric understanding of symmetry, i.e. rotation and reflection in design.

You will need:

  • A pack of playing cards

A deck of cards helps kids answer the question of what is symmetry.  Cool math activities!

What is Symmetry

Going through the pack of cards, notice how the symbols (clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades) are arranged in symmetrical patterns.

There are two types of symmetries: line symmetry (where one half is the reflection of the other half); and rotational symmetry (where after the image is rotated clockwise or anticlockwise, it still looks the same as the original image).

Notice which cards have:

  • Line symmetry;
  • Rotational symmetry;
  • Both line and rotational symmetry.

Cool Math Activities

When analyzing the playing cards and their symmetries, encourage the language of same and different. When the two images/shapes are compared, how are the shapes in the set the same, and in what ways are they different?

As a final challenge, design your own symmetrical cards for the numbers 11, 12 and 13.

Use a deck of cards to teach symmetry - math for kids

More Kids Activities

Math for kids doesn’t have to be difficult.  Make it fun with these activities that teach about symmetry.  For more great kids activities to improve math skills, check out these idea:




Pauline About Pauline

Pauline LessonsLearntJournal is all about life with kids. On Lessons Learnt Journal you'll find activities for children: play, maths games, handwriting, reading as well as parenting confessions. Pauline is a Christian, Wife, Mother of 4, Primary School Teacher. When not blogging, she may be found virtually hoarding on Pinterest, trying to decide which Instagram filter to apply, or compulsively refreshing her Facebook feed. Most days you'll find her chasing her kids and that much needed nap.