4 Amazing Children's Books That Show the Beauty of Math in Nature

Math is numbers. Of course, you knew that! Math is logical. No surprise there either. And math is BEAUTIFUL! Not convinced? Just take a look around you. There’s plenty of gorgeous math to uncover. From the patterns of a flower to spiraling galaxies, the beauty of nature abounds in mathematical miracles.

Instill a love of nature – and math – with an eye-opening journey through these picture books. From spirals to symmetry and patterns, they do a wonderful job of showing how math manifests itself in nature. Highly visual, they get your children poring over math concepts and...Who knows? On your next nature walk, your little one just might be seeing it all in numbers.

Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature

By Sarah C. Campbell

Ah...the Fibonacci sequence, one of nature’s great mysteries. A pattern of numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 . . . each number in the sequence is the sum of the two preceding it.

And it pops up in some of the most unexpected places! From the scales on a pineapple to the spiral of a shell, the disk of a sunflower, and the growth patterns on leaves, nature grows according to this sequence.

Your little ones will enjoy a kid-friendly introduction to Fibonacci numbers in this book. Simple explanations and crisp, stunning photography will draw kids into this natural mystery.

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

By Sarah C. Campbell

So your kids have mastered their shapes. Oranges are spheres. Zucchini are practically cylinders. And the icicles off the roof last winter were sharp, sharp cones. But what about broccoli or clouds or trees? How do they fit in and what shapes are they?

Look closely and you’ll see that they’re made of smaller units that look like the whole shape. They’re fractals. And this photo-rich book introduces your little ones to the concept through stunning close-ups. Sarah Campbell does an amazing job of teaching big ideas to little learners, and getting them to marvel at our world. 

Seeing Symmetry

By Loreen Leedy

Math concepts...factual information...and visual punch! This book will soon have your child mastering the concept of symmetry with a wonderfully illustrated approach. A line of symmetry can be vertical. It can be horizontal. And what about rotational symmetry? The book introduces concepts simply, and visually, building on a basic foundation so that kids can follow along easily.

Colorful illustrations encourage kids to look for symmetry, and there are LOTS of examples. They’ll see it flowers, insects, alligators – living things big and small. But the book moves beyond nature to show symmetry in letters, words, and man-made things as well. A simple, and gorgeous, introduction to symmetry!

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature

By Joyce Sidman

More lyrical and poetic than mathematical, this book opens your eyes to the patterns around us. The focus here isn’t on facts and figures about the spiral, it’s simply a celebration of it. A celebration of the many ways it appears in nature and of its usefulness to living creatures.

From snail shells to tornados and galaxies, it does a wonderful job of inspiring little naturalists to see shapes in nature. The book marries math, science, and art in a way that’s truly unique. 

Does your little one love finding patterns in nature? Share your favorite books and activities with us!

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