With the Kids

Exploring Tessellations with Houses to Draw and Color

Tessellations are an intriguing combination of math and art. You have probably seen examples of M.C. Escher’s artwork featuring these interlocking shapes and patterns. My kids love exploring this art form!

A tessellation is an arrangement of repeated shapes, without gaps or overlapping. Tessellations can be very complex and intricate, with shapes that are flipped or rotated to create a pattern. Don’t worry – these tessellating houses are a perfect beginner project!

Tessellations Houses to Draw and Color

House Tessellations to Draw and Color

For this mathematical art project, the tessellated house shape is translated, or slid, across the paper and traced repeatedly. I love the rows of little houses all nestled together. So cute!


First, make a stencil that can be traced repeatedly, with no spaces or gaps between the shapes. Start with a rectangle of sturdy paper, such as card stock or an index card. Draw a roof shape on the bottom part of the rectangle. Cut it out, and then tape the roof piece to the top.

Creating a tessellation stencil

Now, trace the tessellation stencil on a large piece of drawing paper. I like to start tracing near the center of the paper. Then, I fill-in on both sides of the first shape to complete the row. Carefully line-up the stencil side-by-side with each traced shape and continue adding houses.

Drawing tessellating houses with a stencil

Continue to trace the tessellating stencil, making rows above and below the center row. Fill the paper completely, including any partial shapes around the edges.

Tessellation house shapes

Now, draw embellishments to make the shapes look more like houses. I gave all my houses the same scalloped roof line, but added variety in the shapes and number of windows. Your kids should (and will!) use their creativity here and create their own unique houses or shops.

Drawing tessellations with kids

Color the houses with crayons, in any color scheme you like. Again, I kept all my roofs the same, then used a variety of bright colors to fill in each house. I also colored-in each window with a light blue crayon.

Draw and color tessellations

Aren’t those just the cutest little houses? They remind me of the colorful “painted ladies” Victorian row houses in San Francisco. We are big fans of simple drawing projects like this, that use just a few basic art supplies. If you do a family art night, or are thinking about starting a new tradition, this would be a fun project to work on together!

Tessellating houses art project for kids

For even more tessellation fun, try some of these ideas:

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