PATTERNS! I have been thinking about how important they are lately. Understanding patterns can really help our littles understand the world around them. Something as simple as: I hit, someone cries, mom is mad. That is a pattern. I am hungry, I eat, I feel better. Explaining to our kids that patterns are all around us can help them feel safe in knowing what to expect. Patterns are also very important in learning how to read and understand numbers/math.
I have slowly been introducing the idea to Boston. I like to make learning fun and exciting for him at this age, so here are four SIMPLE and fun ways to introduce patterns to your sweeties.
A simple way to introduce patterns: SILLY SOUNDS!
Pick any silly sounds that would make a toddler laugh (2 or 3) and say them over and over: BEETLE BATTLE BEETLE BATTLE BEETLE BATTLE Explain that this is a pattern because it is something that repeating over and over. Do it HIGH voices, LOW voices, SILLY voices and stop every once in a while to ask, “What comes next?” They think it is so fun to guess.
2. Peanut butter and jelly towers!
Cut bread into small squares, put a scoop of peanut butter and jelly on a plate. Explain that patterns are all around us. We even EAT patterns!! Bread, peanut butter, jam, bread, peanut butter, jam, bread…..this is the pattern. Now let them go crazy stacking a TOWER of PB&J’s.
3. TOY patterns!
While Boston was sleeping I lined up all his cars, organizing them into sizes (big, medium, little). When he woke up I told him all the cars needed to line up to go down the slide in a pattern. Big, little, big, little, big, little…..
If you like organizing, there is nothing quite like lining up a bunch of toys in categories! Ha! Young children can find joy in organizing as well. They can help you sort their toys into size or color.
Starting the pattern for your little one and asking a simple question, “What comes next?” Can help them get started! Set up a line of big stuffed animal, small, big…then ask, “What comes next?” You could also do colors. Line up your child’s favorite ponies, sparkly, plain, sparkly plain. Simply find something your child is interested and help them create a pattern out of them!
This one was a huge hit. Explain that we can also make patterns with our BODIES! Turn on some fun dancing music and make up a little dance routine with three or four movements. Make sure to add some silly ones. After a while we changed it into super hero patterns (punching, zooming, that kind of thing). You can do dance movements about whatever your cutie likes…cats, princesses, butterflies! Always ask, “What comes next??”
- Your child might catch on to patterns quickly, not so quickly, be interested, or not at all. Let your child lead the activities. None of these take much work on your part, so if they do not work out…no big deal. I like to make sure that Boston is not overwhelmed by a new idea because I am pushing it too much. Nothing makes him not want to learn as much as his mom telling him he is not doing it right.
- Once you have set up the idea that patterns are everywhere help your child find them in the world around them. Simply talk. On a walk you might notice the yellow dashes on the road, maybe a neighbor has a flower garden with repeating flowers. Have them line up their snack in a pattern. It really can be that simple.