Fractals are geometric patterns that repeat at increasingly small scales. Research shows that people find fractals visually pleasing and that they can also reduce stress. Here are four ways that you and your family can discover fractals and use them to develop new coping skills together:
1- Explore fractals in nature
Fractals can be found in seashells, lightening, tree branches, leafs, vegetables, clouds and mountain ranges. If you can go for a hike that’s great. But don’t dismiss this option if you have difficulty getting out of the house for any reason. Check out nature books, movies or images online. For those of you who have children who like to visually stim, exploring fractals may be a way to encourage them to try new experiences that “feel” safe and predictable because of the repetitive patterns.
2- Study great art and architecture
Jackson Polluck is perhaps the most renowned painter of fractals but many artists incorporate fractal images into their artwork. Vicky Brago-Mitchell and Carlos Ginzburg are known for their fractal designs. Fractals also appear in architecture around the world.
3- Watch moving fractals
The Fractal Foundation has a variety of animated videos to explore. See which patterns your child seems to like best and prompt them to watch if they start to feel anxious or frustrated.
And finally, for the artistically and mathematically inclined. . .
4- Make your own fractals
Some people enjoy drawing or coloring fractals by hand. There are also fractal generators online for those who want to explore computer generated versions. Check out this one page guide to get started making your own fractal drawings here.