Mazes and Labyrinths

Introduction

Lots of printed mazes for children to complete.

Mazes can be difficult or easy to solve. But, there is a special kind of maze that doesn’t take any effort at all to solve, it’s called a labyrinth and only has one path. We’re going to make some labyrinth tokens today, but first, I’m going to show you how to draw a labyrinth.

*Hand out sheets on drawing labyrinths. Help any children who struggle.*

Main Task.

Following a labyrinth path has been a spiritual process for many people, they have been found on Ancient Greek coins, Indian temple walls and Medieval church floors. Even today, many people trace the path of a labyrinth as a calming activity.

*Once the children can all draw labyrinths hand out clay and paintbrushes – they can mould the clay into discs, then mark out a labyrinth with the end of a paintbrush.*

Making a labyrinth is the same every time, but mazes are different every time. I’m going to show you an easy way to make your own maze.

*Hand out sheets on drawing a maze, and squared paper so the children can draw their own mazes.*

There are lots of methods – or algorithms – for solving mazes.

If you can see the whole maze – as you can with all these paper mazes, a sure fire way to solve most mazes is to fill in the dead ends. If you take a pencil and colour in the way from each dead end to the next junction, you will eventually reveal the path.

If you can’t see the maze – like a hedge maze – a very easy way to solve it is to follow the wall and always turn either right or left. It doesn’t matter which direction you turn (either right or left), but once you’ve chosen your direction, you must stick with it throughout the maze!

*Get the children to swap mazes and solve each others.*

I’ve got some big mazes here, and I thought it might be fun to take it in turns to use the Beebot to solve the mazes.

*Let the children take turns programming the Beebot to solve mazes. If they like, some children can make a new maze for the Beebot to solve.*

This was one of those activities that proved particularly popular. The children split into two teams and each team devised a maze for the other team to solve. They enjoyed it so much, that they had several goes at this.

Break for drink and snack.

Optional Extension.

We’re going to have a go at making some hidden mazes now.

The idea is that you draw a maze – using squares 2cm by 2cm – on a paper plate. Then glue plastic straws onto your plate to make walls.

When you are happy with your maze, take a second plate, cut flaps for the entrance and exit of your maze, and staple the second plate on top of the first. Put a marble into your maze and see if you can get the marble out of the maze by tipping the plate gently.