What is patterning and for what use?

Patterning is the ability to reproduce an arrangement of objects. It is a principle upon which many mathematical concepts are based. Among them some very concrete everyday life ones such as times tables, addition or skip counting all require an understanding of and proficiency in patterning. In preschool, identifying and creating patterns is just the beginning of the mastery of this life-long mathematical skill.

Patterning Activities

1) Clapping - Clap out a pattern, then ask the child to repeat it. For example: clap-clap, clap-clap.

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Clapping requires coordination and concentration. Clapping while singing helps kids gain a sense of rhythm.

2) Body movements - Ask the child to copy body movement patterns. For example: touch your toes, your head, then jump. (Make these increasingly longer and more complex.)

Movement allows children to connect concepts to action and to learn through trial and error. At this age, fundamental movements should be linked into play to keep everything fun. Put some music on and match your body movement pattern to the rhythm.

3) Manipulatives - Let the child reproduce patterns with beads, parquetry blocks, and pegboards.


Many aspects of making crafts with beads increase strength and coordination in the small hand and finger muscles. Threading beads onto a string involves coordination of the child's hands, with their eyes and hands working together. 

4) Sticks & Toys - Have the child copy patterns using Popsicle sticks, blocks, and other small toys.

Every time you ran across Popsicle sticks keep them! There one of the most basic craft supplies and can inspire so much creativity and learning! 


5) Snacks - Ask the child to reproduce a pattern of fruit on a toothpick for a snack.

(Orange – Grape – Orange – Grape)

Merging a healthy snack with some creativity and fun! 


 6) Arts & Craft - The child can make patterns in art with sponge prints, vegetable prints and other media.


Sponge painting is a very versatile art activity that can cater to any lesson theme and can be enjoyed by children of all ages.


7) Folder games - Make folder games that require the child to complete a pattern.


Preschool file folder games are a great way to help your preschool aged child or class to learn the basics of shapes, numbers and even the alphabet. Folder games are easy to make and inexpensive.