Yesterday, we had fun building pattern towers with bamboo skewers, playdough, and colorful drinking straws cut in pieces. I was inspired by my sister-in-law Leah’s homemade bead stacking toy that she made with bamboo skewers and floral foam. Since my kids are a little older (3 and 6), we used straws to make patterns for a great preschool thinking activity with some fine motor coordination thrown in!
We stuck the sharp end of the skewers into the playdough, but skewers should still be used under supervision, of course! (My boys wanted to make them into swords – BOYS!)
Gresham (age 6) made patterns with 6 different colors, but Owen’s “patterns” were totally random. I let him play and have fun for a while, and then I made a pattern for him to add on to.
I recently saw how much patterns help kids learn math when I taught Gresham how to count quarters.
Another benefit to this activity – it kept them busy for almost 30 minutes! When they were tired of making patterns, they had a great time sticking the straws into the playdough. And, I saved all of the straw pieces so that another day Owen can lace them on pipe cleaners or shoelaces!
Mary Catherine Mar 7, 2013
I love the combination of sensory play, fine motor skills, and math in this activity! Best of all, it was fun! :) Thanks for sharing this with us.
Jennifer Sep 26, 2013
Awesome! Great for my 5 year old who likes manipulatives. A fun spin on an old concept... we were coloring patterns last night but, will do this today. Thanks for the post!
Ellen @ CuttingTinyBites Aug 18, 2014
This is fantastic! My oldest loves making patterns, and I'm just starting to work on it with my youngest. I love how it incorporates fine motor practice, as well. Great idea!!
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