Why Should You Teach Preschool Patterns
As promised I have 3 preschool patterns activities for you to try out with your preschooler at home, but before I share them with you, I am going to hop on my soapbox and share with you why patterns are important.
Patterns are by and large my favorite topic to teach to kids, because patterns are literally everywhere.
Your daily routine is a pattern, grocery stores are set up in a pattern, and every academic concept is made up of patterns. Patterns can be found in every aspect of your every day life and when our kids learn to identify patterns they take the steps necessary to make sense of the world. Patterns are a foundational skill that will carry your child through their education. If your child is able to identify a pattern, they will be able to be successful in reading, math, and science. The more you practice identifying patterns the more naturally it will come.
Patterns in Real Life
This is all starting to sound real fancy, basically I pulled out some teacher talk to prove that I know what I am talking about, but let’s talk about what this looks like when you have a real child to teach. For Christmas my son got a pretend food truck. My husband went to make a “purchase” at the food truck and my son wouldn’t give back the credit card after swiping it. My daughter then chimed in and explained how credit cards work and shared that she knew this because “Mommy gives the cashier her card and then the cashier swipes it and gives it back.” She recognized the pattern for making purchases in public. Small patterns like this that occur in our daily lives and you can point them out to your kids so that they can learn to identify them too.
How to Teach Patterns to Preschoolers
Now that you understand why patterns are so important, we should probably talk about how to teach patterns, ya know.
Like any other subject, teaching patterns to preschoolers (or really anyone) is a tiered process and it progressively gets harder as you scaffold.
I like to break preschool patterns into four levels of difficulty
- Level 1: Copy the pattern. This will basically feel like matching and it is (let’s call a spade a spade), but when you add vocabulary words like patterns and you verbalize it, “let’s make this pattern. Blue, green, blue,…” your child will start to make connections.
- Level 2: Complete a pattern or fill in a pattern. Leave some blanks at the end of the pattern or in the middle. Being able to continue a pattern requires them to recognize the pattern and have an understanding of the concept of patterns.
- Level 3: Create your own patterns. This requires an even higher level of thinking and understanding of the concept.
- Level 4: Replicating a pattern with different materials. Recognizing that an A-B pattern is the same pattern whether you are using blue and green or dog and cat is a tough skill and requires your child to have a strong understanding of patterns.
Teaching patterns is a fluid concept. There is no need for them or you to be discouraged regardless of what level they are at. While your child might be on “level 4” for AB patterns when you change the pattern to ABB they may need to go back to level 2 and that is totally normal.
Each of the activities I share on this post can be modified to meet your child’s ability level.
Preschool Patterns Activities
Preschool Pattern Snowflake
- Cut paper into 1 inch strips
- Use dot makers to start a pattern on 4 strips
- Invite your preschooler to complete the patterns
- Glue the 4 strips on top of each other to form a snowflake.
Skill: Patterns and Fine Motor Skills
Lego Patterns For Preschoolers
You can make patterns out of any toy you have because like I said before, there are patterns everywhere. Legos can be used to make patterns in a variety of ways. You can make patterns based on the colors or the size or the shape of the Legos.
You can also make your patterns horizontally or build them vertically.
By mixing up the characteristics that you use to create a pattern and/or the direction that you create the pattern you are able to show your preschooler that patterns exist in a variety of different formats.
Magnetic Tile Patterns
Magnetic tiles are such a magical toy. My kids never seem to grow tired of them and when friends come over the magnetic tiles always come out.
Because magnetic tiles come in a variety of colors and shapes you can create pattern activities for preschoolers that focus on both colors and shapes as the repeatting characteristics.
You can also create the patterns based on height. For example 3 tiles high, 2 tiles high, 3 tiles high etc.
The company who made my set of magnetic tiles went out of business, however if you are in the market for magnetic tiles this set comes highly recommended.
Need more ideas for your magnetic tiles? Check out 5 Activities Using Magnetic Tiles
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Patterns in Preschool
Patterns and preschoolers go together like Woody and Buzz. They are one of those icon duos that will last the test of time. I might be getting a little dramatic, but for realsies they are important.
As I write this post, I am struggling to balance out all of the patterns anecdotes I want to tell you. I want to share them all so you are as convinced as I am that patterns in preschool are so valuable. But there is an art to knowing when to stop talking, ya know. Here is the last gently nudge I will share. I spent most of my classroom days as a fourth grade teacher and patterns were taught there too. Patterns don’t go away they just get more complex, but having a strong foundation will allow your child to thrive and have a better understanding of the systems in the world.
If you have a patterns activity that you know love, be sure to let me know in the comments. And if you try one of mine share that too! I love when I get to cheer you on.
*Several of the links in today’s post are affiliate links. I earn a small commission when you click on the link and make a purchase at no cost to you, but with a huge dose of gratitude from me.