The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.

Fun With Patterns

Highlights 4Cs

Curious, Creative, Caring, and Confident™
The light bulb icon represents curiosity. For content about raising a curious child, look for this icon.
The paint brush icon represents creativity. For content about raising a creative child, look for this icon.
The holding hands icon represents caring. For content about raising a caring child, look for this icon.
The thumbs up icon represents confidence. For content about raising a confident child, look for this icon.
Thinking about patterns helps little ones make sense of math; it helps them predict what will happen. After just a bit of practice, you’ll be amazed at how often your child will find patterns that you don’t even see!

Patterns are everywhere, and it’s easy to give your child opportunities to create and play with them. After all, a pattern is as easy as something that repeats more than once—like red, blue, red, blue, red, blue.

In the Bedroom

  • Look around your child’s room. Is there a pattern on the bedspread or comforter? How about in the curtains or rug on the floor?
  • When folding laundry, ask your child to make a pattern with socks. Help him line them up like this: big, small, big, small, big, small. You can also do this by color. Then have fun matching the pairs of socks together.
  • When you help your child get dressed in the morning, help her count the items of clothing she is putting on (one shirt, two socks, etc.) See if she can recognize a pattern in any of her clothes.

At Playtime

  • Help your child lay out a pattern with his toys—try a book, stuffed animal, block, book, stuffed animal, block, etc. Then count the number of toys all together and repeat the last number as you say, “So we have (total number) of toys on the floor.”
  • Try making a pattern using crayons. Place one pointing up, the next pointing down, etc. As you make the pattern, ask your child, “What comes next?”
  • String pieces of macaroni into a beautiful patterned necklace. Start with a big piece, add another big piece and then a small one on the string. Repeat with more big-big-small pieces to create a pattern. When the necklace is complete, count the number of “beads” together.
  • Build a pattern! Gather something you have a lot of, such as blocks. Put one block on a table to make row one. Start row two by putting one block below row one. (Make it flat against the table, not building up.) Have your child add the second block. Talk about the number of blocks in row one and the number of blocks in row two. Then continue the pattern to make rows three and four, having your child add the last block each time. Then ask, “How many do you think should go in the next row? Let’s find out!”

Extend the Pattern Fun

Look out the window to find more patterns:

  • Look for a pattern in the color of cars parked on the street.
  • Is there one person walking down the street, followed by two people and then one person?
  • Look for a pattern of short and tall trees or thick and thin trees. How about flowers. Is there a color pattern you see?