Have you ever wondered what a world would look like in chaos? It's a great thing we have rules to abide by, schedules to follow, and patterns that make up our daily lives. Patterns set up an established boundary for kids, a daily goal for a child to shoot for and stick by. Patterns can be a very useful tool to demonstrate natural order and predictability to young children before they are able to grasp the more complex subjects of math, numbers, and musical composition. Patterns additionally instill a sense of order and familiarity in a child's world, setting the stage for an organized, structured adult. Helping your young child sequence objects in a repeating fashion can develop and foster his or her understanding of math and musical composition. There are many simple ideas out there for activities if you would like to begin teaching these pattern concepts to your little one today. For now, here are some easy, creative crafts to get you and your kiddos ready.
Take a few long pieces of yarn and lay out all different shapes of dry pasta. Time to get creative! Let your little one choose their own pasts pieces and string them on. Make a few with an alternating pattern and show your child the contrast between order and a random sequence. Take it one step further and put out child safe paints to paint each shape and see what your little one comes up with. Take your necklaces home and put them on display or recycle the craft and put everything in a plastic container to use over and over again.
Take a walk to gather up some natural objects at the local park or playground such as fallen pinecones, leaves, acorns, twigs and sort them into piles. Take a photo of a few different sequences you have set up and print them. Feel free to laminate your guides and lay them down on the grass. Challenge your child to match the natural objects with what they see in the pictures. Give a reward for the closest match and see if they can make a pattern their own!
Ice Cream Board
What better way to teach your child excellent pattern skills and use up your old sewing scraps than this ingenious craft! Gather up colorful bits of felt or fleece fabric and cut out an "ice cream scoop" shape with a pair of scissors. Using the first shape as a pattern, continue cutting out all different colors. The more the better! Next, cut out a few long triangle shapes to serve as the cones. Finally, cover a large rectangle of cardboard with a black or white fabric and you are ready to go! Make a few guides of different patterns and let your child do the rest.
With a little practice, you can begin to encourage your child to start transferring patterns from a set of objects to a completely different set on their own. (For example, making a pattern with buttons and asking your child to repeat the same pattern with blocks) Asking your child to identify the start and the end of a pattern will also help achieve this goal. Once these steps towards pattern mastery have been accomplished, go ahead and strengthen memory at the same time by showing a pattern for 5-10 seconds and then having them repeat it. With these early skills in place, you can be confident of your child's abilities to easily recognize patterns and be on their way to understanding musical and mathematical properties.