A Storm of Patterns

August 5, 2015

If rain or snow are happening to keep you indoors, here is a suggestion for a simple indoor activity for all our friends in the East Coast (and everywhere else in the world.)  We hope this activity will help you to engage with your young children and keep their minds (and yours) off the storm.  At least for a little while…



This activity is all about patterns.  We can find patterns all around us and the beauty of patterns is that we can observe them with any of our five senses.  There are patterns in music, maths, science, architecture and practically anywhere you look. So let’s teach our children to identify patterns and fall in love with creating patterns of their own.

Start with simple objects that the child is familiar with. These can be fruit, vegetables, kitchenware, socks and belts, toys, pencils, or books.  Anything can work and as long as you have more than 6 items you will do well.  If you are using big items such as pillows, or shoes, make sure you have enough floor space.


Now the fun begins!


Invite the child to explore the word ‘REPEAT’ by placing items from the same group in a repetitive order.  Then introduce items from another group and add them in equal intervals to the line you have just created.   You can then ask the child to create his own pattern.  Feel free to provide guidance by asking questions such as: “Which items do you want to use?”; “Which item will come first?"; "What will follow?”; “Is the pattern going in a straight line, is it circular or is it climbing up toward the ceiling?”

Whatever pattern you come up with is wonderful.  The child might start with a simple pattern and then, after some trial and error, come up with more complicated combinations.  You might soon realize that you need more floor space or maybe discover that the pattern your child built turned out to be a massive skyscraper…


When I do this activity with young children, after we finish creating our patterns, we end up playing a memory game.  We do so by removing one item from each of the patterns we have just created and seeing if the children can remember which item was removed and whether they can place it back in the right place.  You can also create the first sequence of a pattern and then ask your child to repeat that same sequence several times.  Another idea is to go around the house and try to identify patterns in exciting places like the cookie box or the toy cupboard.


Build, take apart, explore, and have fun!

Share the patterns your child created with all of us and if you come up with a new game – share that too!



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