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Kindergarten Pattern Activities

Teach children to recognize, create, copy and extend patterns using games and activities. Patterning activities can be taught in short five minute segments and with games such as "Copycat" and "What's Hiding?".

Continue using the correct pattern block names as the children are involved in the activities and games and they will soon start using pattern block vocabulary. Pattern blocks

Pattern Blocks

Pattern blocks are a wonderful math resource for the classroom. They come in 6 colors and shapes - yellow hexagons, green triangles, blue diamond shaped rhombus, red trapezoids, orange squares and a smaller beige rhombus.

Pattern blocksUsing pattern blocks when teaching math not only develops math vocabulary but also helps children understand many other math concepts such as symmetry, order, counting, number operations, data collection, and estimation.

Children reflect on their hands on experiences as they record their thinking. pattern block stickersPattern block stickersare helpful in this process. Wooden magnetic pattern blocksare easy to use, especially for the child with less developed fine motor skills.

Fun Ideas for 5 minute patterning activities

  • clap patterns - fast, fast, slow, fast, fast, slow
  • actions - hop, hop, clap, clap, hop, hop, clap, clap
  • drama activities - swirl arms like the wind, arms out like the sunshine as you say windy, windy, sunshine; windy, windy, sunshine
  • line up at the door in patterns - boy, girl, boy, girl
  • create color patterns with materials - red crayon, blue crayon, red crayon, blue crayon
  • put pattern blocks in the pocket chart and read -hexagon, hexagon, triangle, hexagon, hexagon, triangle...
  • diagrams - e.g. draw big apple, big apple, small apple; repeat
  • letters and words - put letters or words in the pocket chart and read them. AA BB, AA BB or cat, cat, dog; cat, cat, dog
  • link to poetry e.g. Jack be Nimble - act out or draw on chalkboard -tall candle, short candle, short candle, tall candle, short candle...

pattern gamesTeach pattern games to kindergarten

"Can you make it?" - teach pattern block vocabulary
Lots of pattern blocks
A work surface for each child (plastic mats, piece of cardboard; blank are best as there is less to distract the children).


pattern games How to play: Teacher demonstrates and says slowly - e.g. "Choose 2 hexagons, 4 trapezoids, 2 triangles, 5 squares, 1 blue rhombus, 3 beige rhombus (begin with just a few shapes). Put them on your mat.

Then, "I'm thinking of a bird. Can you make it?" Children make a bird using only the patterns blocks chosen above. Then different students can take turns saying what pattern blocks to choose and what to make.

recording patterns Extend the kindergarten pattern activities to the connecting level. Ask the children to count and record how many of each block they used to make the bird, then how many blocks did they use all together.

Materials: Thin strip of lightweight card about 15 inches long for each two students. Pattern blocks for each child.

How to play:
Demonstrate first. This kindergarten pattern activity starts with one child making a repeating pattern until half the strip of card is covered, then the second child finishes it. Children trade places and the other takes a turn creating the repeat pattern and the first child finishes it.

"What's Hiding"
A thin strip of lightweight card about 15 inches long for each child
Pattern blocks for each child
Playing card or similar shaped card

How to play:
Demonstrate first.
One child creates a repeating pattern on a strip of card and covers a small portion of it by holding a playing card over it.
The other child looks at the repeating pattern that is showing and then tries to guess what pattern blocks are under the card.

Playing Math Games Teacher Tips

1. It is easy to keep track of who has had a turn at an activity or game and who hasn't by keeping a stack of children's name tags close by. Every time someone has a turn, put their name on the bottom of the pile. Start at the next name when another game is played or on the following day.

2. Call any math activity a "game" and you have the children's attention.

3. Always give the children 3 - 4 minutes to explore the materials and create something of their own with the game materials, quickly have a look around the circle to appreciate what everyone has made, then start the game.

4. Demonstrate games first. Then demonstrate again and have children follow.

5. Keep games open ended so that all children are able to practice skills. If one child can only master counting to five, let him/her work with five blocks while another child works with seven.

Go from "Kindergarten pattern activities 2 " to previous pattern page.

Visit Sites for Teachers for more great teaching ideas

Get your free copy of Making Friends One Day at a Time student pages!
Go to Kindergarten-Lessons News to get your FREE printable student book, "Making Friends One Day at a Time".

Pattern pages:
Tips and skills
Activities and games
How tos...

To view a variety of pattern block games and manipulatives from Amazon - Click here...


pattern blocks
Purchase deluxe plastic pattern blocks


These magnetic pattern blocks keep the blocks from moving around and are less frustrating for little fingers.


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Preschool and kindergarten circle time carpets help teach shapes, geography and more...