When learning about symmetry, young children benefit most when they are introduced to new vocabulary with hands on activities. Because they think in three dimensions, an impasse arises through verbal instruction, unless they are granted hands on experiences at the same time.
Young children will begin to understand the concepts and vocabulary of symmetry if you give them time to play symmetry games and experiment with symmetry art. For this activity, I placed a long piece of ribbon down the center of a piece of butcher paper, with a basket of candy canes to the side.
Because this was our first time exploring symmetry, we paused a moment to talk about what symmetry is and identified some examples of symmetry in our classroom. We started this activity by taking turns placing the candy canes on the “board”. For the first round, your little one placed a candy cane on her side of the “game board”, and Miss Carrie placed a matching candy cane on her side. As we moved forward in the game, each child began to see how we were creating a symmetrical design (and everyone noticed when I intentionally placed my candy cane in the wrong spot!).