Lots of different pattern activities are used to teach kids the math skills of identifying and creating patterns. These activities will keep kids engaged and having fun as they learn this important math skill.
Pattern Activities that Kids Love
Teaching patterning to kids requires the right tools and activities. When learning this math skill, kids need to see examples of patterns as they identify characteristics and predict what comes next. After identifying a pattern, kids can demonstrate their mastery of this skill by creating their very own patterns with a variety of math manipulatives. No matter what stage of learning kids are in, whether they’re beginners or almost masters, these pattern activities will help kids learn patterns and apply that knowledge to other math situations.
Why Is It Important to Teach Patterns?
You know that teaching patterning is necessary, but what about it makes patterns so important? Why does it matter if kids can identify what comes next in a Red-Blue-Red-Blue pattern? Pattern activities help kids develop their number sense and observation skills. When a child looks at a pattern, they observe what they see and make predictions for what should come next. This math skill serves as an essential foundation in number sense. The observation skills kids develop with patterns are used for more complex math skills. Since patterns are an important foundational math skill, kids must learn and master the basics. That knowledge can then be built upon, helping kids learn more complicated math concepts.
Learning Patterns Through Activities
To discover patterns, kids need time and the right activity. Pattern activities help kids learn what they need to know in a fun and engaging way. Whether it’s with a game or with a printable, these activities will help kids learn this important math skill. Kids will learn to observe the characteristics of patterns and identify what comes next in a sequence. Start with simple patterns, such as an A-B-A-B pattern. Once that’s mastered, kids can progress to more intricate patterns and even a growing pattern.
Activities for Learning Patterns
- Kids love to have fun when they’re learning. One way to have fun when teaching patterning is with a good game or hands-on activity! Have kids work individually or join together into a group and have fun identifying patterns with games.
- Give them practice identifying patterns that they see outside or from the ones that you create. Show them a pattern using manipulatives or on cards and ask kids to describe what they see.
- Patterns are all about repeating, so using another “repeating” tool to teach patterns – chants! Write a song as a class or look on YouTube and find something that’s readily available.
- It might be surprising, but books can help with teaching patterning. All you need are some pattern books and a cozy place to read. Kids will love curling up with a book as they learn about patterns. See our list below!
- Teaching kids about patterning is also fun with videos that include songs and chants to make learning stick. Check out these fun videos for the classroom!
- Worksheets and printables work well as a teaching tool for patterns. Printables and worksheets provide an opportunity to learn and master math skills such as patterns.
Making Patterns Through Activities
Making patterns is the next step in mastering this math skill. Kids that can create patterns demonstrate an understanding of the skill as they apply it to each situation. When making patterns, plan on kids moving around a lot and using their hands as they apply what they learn to each activity. You can observe skill levels and understanding at a glance with these fun, hands-on activities for making patterns.
Activities for Making Patterns
- To create patterns, kids need to learn how to identify characteristics and sort them into like groups. Patterns and sorting activities will help kids learn how to make a pattern.
- Get ready for some stamping fun using bingo markers. This is a fun and easy way for kids to practice patterns, using different colors of bingo markers to create their very own patterns.
- Kids enjoy making books so have them make their own book of patterns. They can practice using different colors, shapes, and pictures to make a collection of patterns.
- Blocks and cubes encourage kids to make patterns. Patterns made with these math manipulatives can be color patterns, shape patterns, and even number patterns!
- Stickers are quick and easy manipulatives to use for many activities, including patterns! When teaching patterning, give kids a few sheets of stickers and encourage them to make as straightforward or as complicated a pattern that they can.
- Kids love making things they can wear! Encourage them to create a unique pattern and display it on their own pattern hat. Grab this activity for free below!
- Playdough can also be used to create patterns. Find a printable such as this ice cream pattern printable and have kids roll different colors of playdough into balls. These balls make simple or intricate patterns.
- Another helpful math manipulative to use to create patterns is stamping. Set out some old stamps and ink pads and let kids have fun creating their patterns by image or color.
Learning what makes a pattern and then practicing it is important in mastering this math skill. Pattern activities give kids a hands-on way to practice and demonstrate their skills. Since it’s hands-on, it’s engaging for kids, helping to keep learning fun and exciting.
Pattern Activities Books
- Pattern Fish by Trudy Harris: Using simple rhymes, Harris explores patterns under the sea. It introduces different types of patterns (AB, AAB, ABB, etc.)
- Teddy Bear Patterns by Barbara Barbieri McGrath: Colorful bears get sorted in different ways and arranged in varying patterns in this fun book. Kids get to interact with the patterns at the end of the book (using counting bears- see link below).
- Lots and Lots of Zebra Stripes by Stephen R. Swinburne: This book has vivid, up-close pictures of patterns from nature.
- A-B-A-B-A- A Book of Pattern Play by Brian P. Cleary: Goofy cats help show kids a variety of patterns in this book, using different colors, shapes, and objects.
- Busy Bugs: A Book About Patterns by Jayne Harvey: This simple book, perfect for new readers, uses colorful bugs to teach about patterns.
- Pattern Bugs by Trudy Harris: This book is useful for showing kids the different places where patterns are found. Kids will enjoy looking for various patterns throughout the book.
- Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco: Patterns in the natural world are explored in this book and will have kids looking at the world around them in a different way.
- I See a Pattern Here by Bruce Goldstone: This book contains photographs of everyday things that have patterns. Invite kids to participate in anticipating patterns and learning to build their own.
- National Geographic Kids Look and Learn: Patterns!: A board book for younger students, this bright book offers a look at patterns in nature around us.
- Animal Patterns by Nathan Olson: Students look for patterns in the animal world and discover how varied they can be. You’ll find great pictures and simple text together in one!
- Math Counts: Patterns by Henry Pluckrose: This combines real-world examples and photos to make this concept easier for kids.
Pattern Activities Resources
The activities seen in this post are available in various resources found on Teachers Pay Teachers. Click the images above to visit the unit that has the activity seen in the photo. Find out why teachers love the Mindful Math program for Kindergarten and first grade.
Mindful Math Kindergarten Curriculum
Mindful Math First Grade Curriculum
FREE Pattern Hat Activity
Kids will love creating their own pattern on a hat they can wear! Grab your free copy of the pattern hat craftivity by clicking the image below.
Pattern Activities Materials
- Learning Resources: Three Bear Set: This set of 80 colorful bears in 3 sizes can be used for patterning (see book suggestion above), sorting, and counting.
- Bear Family Pattern Cards: Use these cards with the Three Bear Set for prompting students to complete patterns.
- Plastic Pattern Blocks: Use these simple pattern blocks in a variety of ways as students get hands-on experience with creating shapes and patterns.
- Rainbow Math Links Counters: While reinforcing fine-motor skills, these links also allow students to create their patterns.
- Melissa and Doug Bead Sequencing Set: Students place large wooden beads on upright dowels to match the provided pattern cards. The cards have a progressively more intricate pattern, as students work through them.
- Stacking Peg Board Set: Students stack the colorful pegs on top of each other in different color patterns.
- TableTop Pocket Charts- Sorting and Patterning: This is a helpful resource for teachers to work one-on-one or with small groups of students. It comes with a pocket chart and 104 pattern and sorting cards that the teacher can use, however, needed.
- Large Lacing Beads: Students will enjoy making designs with these bright beads. The lacing also reinforces fine-motor skills. Great for center time!
- Wooden Pattern Blocks Jigsaw Puzzle: Students look at pattern cards and then use different shaped blocks to recreate the figures on the cards. Puzzles also reinforce hand-eye coordination.
- Snap Block Patterns: Snap blocks recreate the pattern on the provided cards. The kids use the blocks to make up their patterns.
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