One great way to build thinking skills in preschoolers is by creating patterns! This week, I introduced the concept of patterns to Owen (turned 3 in May) for the first time.

We made patterns with objects from nature – leaves from our yard and vase filler stones. (Rocks that can be found in our area are mostly limestone and sandstone – not round and not as much fun to hold! Vase filler stones are fun to play with.)

Owen can handle an “AB” pattern like “rock, leaf, rock, leaf.” Saying the pattern out loud while pointing to the objects helps him find any errors.

Gresham (age 5) made this pattern: big leaf, small leaf, rock, big leaf, small leaf, rock. (His toy lizard is watching!)

We also like to make patterns with linking cubes and by making sounds with our bodies. We came up with a list of sounds that we could make – clicking tongue, clapping hands, patting lap, snapping fingers. Then we made patterns with those sounds!

Patterns are foundational for mathematical thinking!


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  1. CathyH Aug 24, 2012

    This (homeschool) high school math teacher is grinning. Math is just patterns - and getting kids to think like this EARLY helps so much with math LATER. Then they also think math is just fun games - even in high school! Including objects, motions and sounds is a great idea, also.

  2. Barbara Allisen Aug 27, 2012

    As children play, they learn so much. Patterning is a basic skill that comes up in language, math, music, and more. It helps build higher level thinking and problem-solving. A pattern helps memory too by condensing information. This activity is both nature-smart and logic-smart. On my website I try and suggest a patterning activity each month. Best of all, this looks like FUN!

  3. Linnea Aug 28, 2012

    More of a "girl" thing I suppose, but we just did this using nail polish on my nearly 4 yo. nails- she picked the colours and told me what pattern she wanted and dictated it as we went. We're going to have to ramp it up though, I think she's beyond the ABAB patterning :).


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