Children naturally will recognize patterns within their day, although they may not label them as patterns but as routines. They learn a routine and may protest when something is amiss in their sequence. Did you know that this growing awareness is a critical building block in their mathematical reasoning? Encouraging patterning contributes to their overall counting strategy development, problem solving and generalization about number combinations.
There are many natural opportunities to pattern play children every day. You can do this several ways; pick up on patterns your child has already discovered or point them out. Patterns like the stripes on their shirt. Children may also tune into repeating patterns of sounds (loud, loud, soft; loud, loud, soft) – like the sound of windshield wipers or other rhythms.
Encourage your child to create patterns by arranging coloured blocks, crayons and different sized objects, or stringing beads. You can invite them to create patterns by movement such as jump, jump, clap, clap. Children may continue with a pattern for a bit and then change it up suddenly. They may pattern orange, blue, orange, blue, orange, blue, orange, red, red, red, red. Their rational maybe that red is their favorite colour. Children don’t need to be corrected every time they don’t follow the pattern rules. Instead you could tell them that if it were you would keep going blue, orange, blue, orange. This would encourage a discussion that reinforces pattern-making concepts.