From age 3 to 5, children can start noticing patterns. My own 3 ½-year-old daughter is obsessed with them. She’ll spot patterns around the house and enthusiastically declare, “Hey, that’s a pattern!”
We also take her once a week to a KidStrong class (kind of like an educational CrossFit class for toddlers), and they started introducing pattern practice for the 3-year-old class over the last few weeks.
If you have a 3, 4, or 5-year-old at home, be sure to download this free complete-the-pattern printable, which is ideal for laminating.
It’ll help reinforce any pattern practice your kiddo is getting outside of the home. Plus, spotting patterns is an indicator of later success in mathematical achievement (keep reading for more info!).
Why Pattern Practice Is Awesome For Preschoolers
According to research cited in a University of Cambridge report, a child’s ability to spot patterns can predict how well they do in math later on. In fact, spotting patterns is a better indicator of later achievement than counting!
Being aware of patterns is often described as early algebraic thinking, which includes observing regularities, noticing the relationship between several elements, and noticing mathematical features.
Practicing patterns at home is as simple as using whatever you have on hand to set up a pattern:
- Orange crayon, blue crayon, orange crayon – what’s next?
- Red block, green block, blue block, red block, green block – what’s next?
- Twig, leaf, leaf, twig, leaf, leaf, twig, leaf – what’s next?
- Apple, banana, apple, banana, apple – what’s next?
In addition to using everyday objects around our home, I love creating laminated printables. They’re durable and are simple to put together. I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted online, so I made my own with shapes and colors.
Practicing Repeated Sequences
The shape pattern printables I created focus on repeated sequences. Here are some examples:
- AB sequences: circle, square, circle, square
- ABC sequences: circle, square, triangle, circle square, triangle
- ABB sequences: circle, square, square, circle, square, square
- AABB sequences: circle, circle, square, square, circle, circle, square, square
- ABBC sequences: circle, square, square, triangle, circle, square, square, triangle
It’s important to introduce several types of patterns like this because a lot of kids can get stuck thinking that only AB sequences are a pattern.
For example, a child may believe red, blue, red, blue, is a pattern, but they’ll believe red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue is not.
Starting with simpler patterns is best for around age 3, but don’t be afraid to challenge your toddler. And extend this printable activity by using things around your home so your child can keep going with the pattern!
Laminating Supplies You’ll Need
To create this shape pattern printable at home, you’ll need a few basic supplies:
- Laminator (I love the Scotch brand – it works like a charm and is very affordable)
- Laminating sheets (Scotch brand is also my top choice; I’ve tried inexpensive brands before, and they are NOT good)
- Sticky dots (Velcro)
- Regular paper, printer, and scissors
- Optional: Thick paper to make the sheets more durable (80lb paper)
- Optional: Corner punch to make the sharp edges rounded
- Optional: paper cutter (I personally found scissors to be faster for cutting out the shapes in this project!)
Note: These are the same supplies you need to make most of our other printables for babies and toddlers, and you can find all of our printable supply recommendations with links on the Shop page.
The laminator is one of the best supplies you can buy if you enjoy making learning-at-home activities for your babies and toddlers. It opens the door for all kinds of educational projects, including:
- Infant stimulation cards
- Vocabulary cards
- Laminated flowers and leaves
- Shape matching
- Dinosaur matching
- Clip the clothespin on the matching shape
- Patterns with pom poms
- Alphabet practice
Get even more ideas here: 17 Fun Activities to Laminate for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers
How to Laminate the Shape Pattern Printable
If you’re new to laminating, rest assured it is seriously SO easy. Once you laminate your first activity, you’ll want to keep going!!
First, print out the shape pattern printable.
Then, slide your paper in the laminating sheets and run it through the laminator.
Then, you’ll want to cut out the shapes on the last page.
I like to cut them and then use my rounded corner punch to make sure there are no pointy edges. It also gives the printable a much more professional look that I couldn’t achieve with scissors alone.
Then, add your sticky dots! My little hack is to add the rough dot to the worksheet. Then, gently lay the soft one right on top. Press your shape onto it, and it’ll be perfectly centered every time!
I like to add the sticky dots to the whole row, then place all of the shapes on top. It’s your own little assembly line. 🙂
Complete the shape pattern with your toddler in a fun, new way with this laminated printable.
If you make this, PLEASE tag me on Instagram at @thetwomamabears or leave a comment below (you can upload a photo with your comment). Hundreds of people download the printables on my site, but no one has ever done it and tagged me. It would make my day!!