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Tessellation – What It Is And How To Introduce It To Children

Do you know that art and math can go hand in hand? Wonder how? Well, tessellation is the answer. But if you think about what tessellation art is, let us tell you that it can be found in art and nature — and in many kitchen backsplashes!


A tessellation is created when a certain shape is repeated over and over again without any gaps and overlaps. There are various types of tessellation in math. Let’s learn everything about tessellations from the article given below. Also, don’t forget to try the tessellation activities (mentioned at the end) with your little one.


What Is Tessellation?

Let’s explore the tessellation definition for children.

Like a jigsaw puzzle, a tessellation is a combination of shapes that fit together flawlessly without any gaps. The result of this is a symmetric design of repeating patterns that may feature animals, persons, shapes etc.


Some common examples of tessellation are brick walls, tiled floors and the honeycomb pattern in bee hives.

Why Does Your Child Need To Learn Tessellation?

Wondering how your child can benefit from learning about tessellations?
Well, here are some reasons:-

  • It helps children learn about geometric patterns.
  • It promotes critical thinking, creativity, and spatial reasoning skills in them.
  • It can be used to measure distance, which children will learn in higher classes.

What Are The Different Types Of Tessellations?

Let’s read about types of tessellation shapes to teach children.


1. Regular Tessellation

A regular tessellation only has one repeating polygon shape within its image. A regular polygon shape has equal side lengths and angle measurements. The three types of regular tessellation shapes that are commonly used include squares, triangles, or hexagons.

Regular Tessellation

These tessellations have interior angles that are divisors of 360 degrees. For example, the total of three angles of a triangle is 180 degrees – which is a divisor of 360. The total measurement of the six angles of the hexagon is 720 degrees – a divisor of 180.


2. Semi-Regular Tessellations

Semi-Regular Tessellation

This type of tessellation is made up of two or more regular polygons. There are eight types of semi-regular tessellations – squares, hexagons, octagons, equilateral triangles, and dodecagons. Semi-regular tessellations are formed when two or three types of polygons share a common vertex.

3. Demi-Regular Tessellations

Demi-regular tessellations are made up of two or three polygon arrangements. There are 20 types of demi-regular tessellations that can be formed by placing a row of squares and then a row of equilateral triangles that are alternated up and down, forming a line of squares when combined. This type of tessellation always contains two vertices.


4. Non-Regular Tessellation

This type of tessellation is a group of shapes with the sum of all interior angles equal to 360 degrees. These tessellations are formed using polygons that are not regular.

5. Other Types

Additionally, there are two other types of tessellations which are three-dimensional tessellations (uses three-dimensional forms of shapes) and non-periodic tessellations (a tiling that does not have a repetitious pattern).


Tessellation Pattern Made By Human

Humans create tessellation patterns because we like the way it looks or because it creates the most secure structure and design for something. Here are some examples of tessellation patterns made by humans.

  • Floor tiles
  • Chess boards
  • Mosaics
  • Bricks in a wall
  • Window panes

Tessellation Pattern In Nature

Yes, nature has its own ways of surprising us. Nature does create a tessellation pattern by itself!
Some examples of tessellation patterns in nature are:

  • Honeycomb
  • Reptile and fish scales
  • Fritillary flowers
  • Turtle shells
  • Pineapples
  • Raspberries

How To Make Tessellation At Home?

How exciting it will be for children if they get to engage in hands-on activities and learn about tessellations. Here is one such activity that you can perform at home to make your child understand the concept of tessellation.

What You Will Need

  • Tessellation print
  • Scissors
  • Coloured paper
  • Glue


  1. Take a tessellation template and cut pre-drawn shapes.
  2. Use these shapes to cut from the coloured paper.
  3. Line up all the shapes to make a colourful tessellation (remember no gaps) and glue them to a piece of coloured paper.
  4. Kids will have a fun time learning tessellation with the help of this activity.

Which Shapes Can’t Make Tessellation Patterns?

Now that you know what tessellation is and its types, let’s learn what shapes can’t make tessellation patterns.

So, in a tessellation, whenever two or more polygons meet at a point or at a particular vertex, the internal angles must add up to 360 degrees. Only three regular polygons can form a tessellation by themselves – triangles, squares, and hexagons. Therefore, circles and ovals cannot tessellate. Not only do these shapes have any angles, but clearly, it is impossible to put a series of circles or ovals next to each other without a gap.

Activities To Teach Your Kids Tessellations

You will be happy to know that the theory part is now over, and it’s time to make your child practice and understand tessellations with the help of fun and engaging activities. So, let’s read about some activities on tessellation for kindergarten kids below.

1. Lego Tessellation Activity

Lego Tessellation Activity

Make your child use their coloured building blocks as an awesome learning tool. Ask them to make symmetric patterns using their Legos.

Psst…Be ready to tolerate the occasional Legos under your foot!

2. Tessellation Puzzle

Get your child a tessellation puzzle, and all you need to do is sit and observe your child assemble them into one solid work of art!

3. Tessellation Drawing

Give your child a plain sheet and colours and encourage them to create their own tessellation pattern. In one row, they can draw a simple shape that spans the entire height of the row, like a square. Next, ask them to draw that shape again immediately next to the first shape. Make sure they fit together perfectly. Ask them to finish the pattern and colour it.

4. Make A Tessellation

Using card stock, invite your child to cut various shapes to create a tessellating pattern. As they finish their tessellation designs, help them mount the final version to the paper using glue sticks.

5. Tessellation Colouring

If your child is starting to learn about tessellations, then colouring the tessellation patterns will be an ideal activity for them to start out. There are quite a few options available online that you can choose from and take a print for your child to colour.

Tip: While your little one will be busy colouring these pages – you will get some downtime too!

6. Pasta Tessellation

As you know that tessellations are patterns made up of shapes that fit together without leaving space in between – You can encourage your child to learn this using pasta, children’s favourite snack. All you need for this activity is uniformed shape pasta. Ask your child to start creating a pattern from one corner of the card stock and create a tightly interlocking, repeating pattern of pasta.

Once your child knows what a tessellation is, they will find them everywhere. They will look out for patterns in things around them and will point them out for you. Do listen to your child when they are explaining this, as it will encourage them to learn more about tessellation in math. Happy learning!

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