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Math Pattern Activities for Preschoolers

At the preschool level children explore patterns with objects, colors, shapes, and sounds. They learn to see, hear and even create patterns. Exploring with math pattern activities gives them the skills they will need later when they are working with patterns in numbers.

 A cartoon boy with a ball, block pattern

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Math Pattern Activities for Preschoolers

1. Look For Patterns

Find patterns around the house and when you’re out and about :

  • on clothes: stripes on a shirt
  • on the table: fork, spoon, fork, spoon
  • on a fence: big board, little, board
  • on their bedsheet
  • on the displays at Target
  • on walls and ceilings

2. Listen For Patterns

  • Tap a simple pattern on the table and have your child repeat it.
  • Make sound patterns for your child to repeat: bop- bop- boom, bop- bop- boom. Or with words: cow-cow-pig-cow, cow-cow-pig-cow.
  • Clap out patterns
  • Use pots and pan and ‘drum’ patterns with a wooden spoon.

3. Read Stories That Have Text Patterns

Preschoolers love joining in with predictable text. Repeated text patterns make this easy to do. Here are a few books preschoolers love:

4 cards with patterns. one has fly and grasshoppers, one with blue bears and red bears, one with green blocks and blue blocks. One with yellow and green chain

Here are a few preschool books that teach the concept of patterns:

4. Continue Patterns

  • Start with the same kind of items following an A-B-A-B-A-B pattern. What comes next?
    • shoe, sock, shoe, sock, shoe, ???
    • fork, spoon, fork, spoon, ???
    • blue square Lego, red square Lego, blue square Lego, red square Lego, ???
  • Then move on to items with one distinguishing characteristic
    • a blue toy, a red toy, a blue toy, a red toy, ???
    • a hard item, a soft item, a hard item, a soft item ???

5. Create Patterns

Children can create their own patterns in numerous ways. Here’s a few fun ideas.

Create patterns with:

6. Jack Heartman Alligator Chomp

Jack Hartman does a great song teaching patterns with clapping called Alligator Chomp

Be sure to check out more preschool math topics:

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