Here is a compilation of all the replies I received when I asked for
suggestions about patterning activities. Thanks to all who contributed!
Patterning Ideas for Kindergarten
I bought really large PONY beads at AC Moore and a roll of heavy cord. The
kids loved making bracelets and necklaces - it made it easy to see who had
the idea. I also did the same with different macaroni's - the wagon wheels
and large tubes were used (I colored with a capful of alcohol and food
coloring in a bag and then laid out to dry).
We make patterns using anything and everything...children lining up,
clapping patterns while we wait for the rest of the class to wash their
hands for lunch, and we make patterns using a lot of things in the
old marker tops
our shoes, mittens, folders etc.
The book "Bag It and Box It Math" and "Math Their Way" have lots of good
One activity my kids love is making patterns with colored macaroni. I use
different shapes and colors. Right now you can get pumpkins and harvest
macaroni. anyway. They make a pattern with the macaroni and glue it onto a
strip of construction paper. After they have dried you can place it in a
pocket chart and invited the children to "read" the pattern.
I start out with simple 2 color patterns using beads. Kids love to
make bead necklaces. We do patterning with those cubes that stick
together and and anything else they play with in the room. I also use
worksheets where they have to finish the pattern and color in a pattern.
I also play a game - "What's my rule?" I pick 4 kids to stand up and
they have to guess the pattern - may be "boy, girl, boy, girl", "white
shoes, black shoes", "light hair, dark hair", etc. Hope this helps.
I have done an entire unit on this, but this year I am doing it all year
long. I take any seasonal shape and cut it out in different colors, making
2 & 3 step patterns. I have "Exploring Patterns" by Intellitools, and
Millie's Math house on the computer. We do sound patterns, movement
patterns, and we look for patterns in the environment.
Patterning can be done with stamps and a stamp pad.
We've also made caterpillar patterns. I drew a head and then the children
used different colored circle stickers to make the body.
Another one is beads on a shoelace.
At my school, it is our 2nd chapter all about patterns and we spend
about a whole month on it. For center activities: I have used fruit
loops and made pattern fruit
loop necklaces, made paper chains using two different colors, used pegs
and boards to create own patterns, and used beads with shoelaces and cards
to copy the patterns. I also used unfix cubes and created my own pattern
cards for the kids to copy patterns from and made my own pattern matching
game. I used patterns cut out from wallpaper books and laminated cards
Be sure when you are doing patterning activities, not to get into just
color patterns. Use a wide variety of criteria. Things like shape
patterns, size patterns, item patterns and any other different
attributes that can be put into a pattern. Many children don't readily
transfer the concept of patterning to something other than a color
My main patterning activity (lessons) tend to center around daily activities
... especially our calendar. The numbers on the calendar, from the first
of school go up on two different colors and shapes of day markers ... in a
pattern of ABAB. When the children can predict what comes next I change the
pattern the next month to AABAAB or something like that ... some years I get
to ABC patterns, but not every year! Another calendar pattern which we
do not teach as such, because our calendar presents in a grid of 7x5 days,
the days of the week ... the calendar is actually a pattern of
A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-etc. The months of the year also fall into this
category, BUT these concepts are pretty abstract for the munchkins in our
If you're counting days (as in # of school days), you could use pennies and
nickles -- penny, penny, penny, penny, nickle, penny, penny, penny, penny,
nickle, etc. Using straws you could use two heights (tall, short, tall,
short, etc.). lining up can be done boy, girl, boy, girl, etc.
How about playing "I Spy Patterns" in the room and have the children try to
find different patterns about the room. If your floor is tiled you may find
some color or lay-out patterns there. Window coverings may have patterns
printed in them. You may set up several different patterns in different
centers for the children to identify (they will need to be able to see them
from your circle area if you play it as a sit down game).
Use shoes ... laces, no laces or athletic shoes and leather shoes, or
Use hair color
Use eye color
Use lunches, if appropriate for your setting (bring, buy) -- set them up in
line in some fashion of a pattern!
This year we adopted the TERC series 'Investigations'. One of the units is
'Pattern Trains and Hopscotch Paths'. Some activities:
a. physical patterns ex. clap, slap your knees
b. linear patterns using a variety of materials
c. pattern snakes using pattern blocks
d. border patterns--they use color tiles and continue the pattern
the frame. we
often do this to decorate the cover of our journals using
choose, for example, the November journal might have a border of
turkey, pumpkin', etc.
e. hopscotch patterns--this is one of their favorites. Use only one
but vary the
patterns. The children suggest ways to move on the pattern.
creative! We put a large pattern on the floor which can be
frequently. I can't
keep them off it. They jump it on their way to centers, group
getting ready to
go out, etc. (We even have a picture of our assistant
jumping it. He
tried to get out of it by saying that he would do it after I
when the chldren
told him I had already done it, he had no choice!:)
f. After they make many of their patterns, they record them, either
or using paper shapes
g. we also prepare paper shapes they can take home with a list of
This keeps the parents involved and aware of what we are doing
After making patterns in centers, we come back together in a group and
discuss our patterns, each child describing theirs.
They are noticing patterns in books we read, in clothing, etc. I know I
haven't done this program justice in this brief explanation but I love the
program and so do the children. They ask if they can make patterns with the
variety of materials we have and ask to use the 'games' we have prepared
(which are all detailed in the unit). It is a lot of preparation but so far
I think it is worth it. We have found the parents very willing to help
prepare the materials also.
I dye unusual shapes of pasta (bow ties, shells, rotini, rigatoni) with
alcohol and food coloring, in different colors in ziplock bags. Allow to dry
on newspaper. I give each child a sandwich ziplock baggies. They first
out their colored pasta and sort them by color, or by shape. Next we make
AB pattern...children choose their 2 favorite shapes and create a pattern.
also pair up and have 1 child create a pattern, their partner will coopy or
add to the pattern. Next activity, I draw pasta patterns on chart paper or
glue pasta patterns on posterboard . the children have to "add" 3 more
to the pattern.
I've also asked parents to send in assorted buttons. We sort and create
patterns with them. We've also used shells feom our ocean unit to sort and
For special holidays, I find various clip art shapes, enlarge them
slightly and make multiple copies. Then we color and cut out the holiday
pictures. We use our
pocket chart to make and add on to our patterns. Yesterday, we used
pumpkins and cornucopia pictures. I already found my Christmas and Hanukkah
clip arts to enlarge color and cut out.
I work on patterning all year long in my k class. Each month we use a
different pattern on our calendar. This month we have an AAABB pattern
and use two different colored turkeys to write our numbers on. We also
clap patterns each morning.i.e.clap, clap, clap,slap(our legs),slap
would be an AAABB pattern. clap, clap, clap, slap,slap, snap(fingers)
would be an AAABBC pattern. We use counting bears, tiles and any
manipulatives with different colors to make patterns. We also glue
shapes on paper in various patterns.