Early Years Maths – EYFS Pattern Activities

Patterns are everywhere

Patterns are important to all areas of mathematics and it is therefore essential for young children to develop the skill of looking for, describing and extending patterns. The following EYFS pattern activities will support with just that.

Identifying Patterns

When outdoors encourage the children to look for patterns in the environment, there are so many to find.

You may have to point them out at first but with lots of practise the children will get much better at spotting them by themselves.

A really good way to introduce a topic on pattern is by reading the story ‘My Mum and Dad Make Me Laugh’ by Nick Sharratt. In the story, mum loves spots and dad loves stripes and they explore lots of different places and things where they can be found.

Following on from this, games and activities like the ones below will allow the children to explore the concept of pattern further.

Get 10 free colouring sheets and ask children to add spots or stripes to the pictures.

Match the animal patterns
Pattern finding colouring sheet
Click on the picture to get it for free

Don’t forget to encourage the children to talk about the patterns that they can see while they play to reinforce the new language.

Repeating Patterns

Children then need to be made aware that patterns can repeat and should have lots of opportunity to explore pattern through the use of practical materials such as threading beads, unifix, multilink cubes etc. before moving on to recording patterns on paper. This gives children the opportunity to repeat a pattern extensively and quickly correct mistakes should any be made. Patterns can be made in a variety of ways – colour, size, shape etc.

When introducing repeating patterns children will benefit from physically making them. For example, children can make a boy, girl pattern or make patterns with their bodies e.g. stamp, stamp, clap.

The most important concept a child needs to learn when working with repeating patterns is to recognise the core of the repeating pattern which is the shortest string of units that repeat. As children become more proficient at recognising patterns, the complexity of them can be increased.

EYFS Pattern Activities – Printable Pack

The pattern pack below consists of sixteen pages of pattern worksheets which reinforce all of the concepts discussed above once children have had the opportunity to make them physically.

EYFS Pattern Activities
Click on the picture above to purchase the pack

These cute dachshunds have coats with repeating patterns that need to be continued. They start off quite easy and get increasingly difficult. There is even a page where children can create their own patterns. This will demonstrate exactly how well children have understood the core of the repeating pattern.

Some of the sheets demonstrate that objects can make patterns e.g. happy face, sad face, key’s facing upwards , keys facing downwards. Children need to look carefully to find the ones that match – the core of the repeating pattern is the same even though the objects are different. These strips can also be used to encourage the children to make the same pattern but using different objects, again getting them to think about the core of the pattern. Finally, there are threading bead strips to colour and threading bead strips to copy and continue.

If you’ve still not had enough of patterns visit this website which again reinforces the concepts or let your children play this interactive game which has three different difficulty levels to challenge them.

Patterns in the world around us

Children should also be made aware of patterns in the world around them such as the seasons, days of the week and months of the year, as well as exploring them through books and rhymes.

Children need to develop an awareness and understanding of lots of different types of patterns, gradually increasing the complexity of them as their knowledge base increases. Once they are confident with all of the activities in the EYFS pattern activity pack along with the others mentioned above the aim will be to move onto number patterns but that is another blog!

Don’t forget, if you would like a copy of the pack then click here.

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