Patterns, Patterns, Patterns!

As Jan Brady might say – patterns, patterns, patterns!

Patterns are all arounds us. They are in nature, from the leaves on trees to waves in the ocean; man-made in skyscrapers and our own homes; and crafted by musicians, painters, printmakers and more as they use patterns to blend art, math and science.

Exploring patterns in all their forms is a fantastic way to help beginning learners build basic math skills, eventually leading to more complex algebraic and scientific topics. For younger children this can start with looking for patterns in colors, shapes, sounds, dances, and school or home routines. This can progress to identifying patterns in nature, like how weather can be predicted over time, and geometric forms like tessellations which bridge math and art in exciting ways.

Try some fun crafts, games, and activities below to help your child understand, identify and create patterns!

Then, next week, learn how to recognize patterns and build basic math skills with Peg + Cat and Odd Squad on PBS Kids 24/7. And keep the learning going with our Learn Along Bingo.

Jump to article sections:

Explore Patterns

Patterns and Relationships: Here, There and Everywhere

Grades PreK-K
Using this resource group, teachers can focus on the topic of patterns and relationships by exploring patterns in science, art, music, literature and food. Students will recognize, describe, and create repeating patterns. This resource group is part of the Mathline Elementary School Math Project.

Using Patterns to Boost Your Child’s Math Skills

Grades PreK-3
Learn how patterns can help your preschool or early elementary school student build serious math skills!

12 Books to Excite Your Child’s Mathematical Imagination

Few things are better than curling up next to a loved one and listening to a good story. Read aloud time helps kids develop positive feelings about books, strengthens their vocabulary and helps them understand the world around them. Here are a few picture books that skillfully weave in mathematical concepts, offering a simple way to excite children’s imagination while increasing their comfort level with math.

Odd Squad Video Clips on Patterns

Grades K-4
Explore this collection of Odd Squad videos all about patterns!

Clouds in Weather Patterns

Grades 3-5
Learn about factors, such as wind, moisture, temperature, and air pressure, at a regional level that help produce the weather that people experience locally. This video helps students learn about weather patterns over time and space, which can be used to predict upcoming weather.

Cyberchase | Patterns in Nature

Grades 3-6
In this video segment from Cyberchase, Bianca wants to learn why her plants keep dying, so she transports them in a carriage to the New York Botanical Garden. A helpful plant expert shows her some patterns in plants, including bilateral and rotational symmetry, before discovering the pattern that may be killing Bianca’s plants.

Ocean Temperatures and Climate Patterns

Grades 6-12
Interactions between Earth’s atmosphere and oceans drive weather and climate patterns. Although these interactions and patterns are complex, they are also predictable. This animation from The New Media Studio explains precipitation patterns by illustrating how differences in ocean surface temperatures create wind, and how wind patterns can in turn affect ocean surface temperatures.

Games, Crafts & Activities

Peg and Cat’s Incredibly Popular Honey Cake | PBS KIDS Lab

Grades PreK-K
This activity will help children measure by cups, tablespoons and teaspoons, create and recognize patterns and follow instructions. There are lots of ways they can enjoy Peg + Cat’s “Super-Popular” Honey Cake! It’s delicious to eat and fun to decorate with fruity patterns.

Explore Patterns | Sesame Street

Grades PreK-K
Explore patterns through music and activities in a fun way with Sesame Street!

Roll & Bead: Make Jewelry With Math

Grades K-3
This multiplayer game is super simple and develops counting, subitizing (recognizing amounts without counting), as well as fine motor and hand-eye coordination skills. Children will get to make a cool bracelet too!

Craft a Secret Message Card

Grades K-3
Secret messages and codes have been used throughout history — and by the Odd Squad — to keep messages private. They’re even used to figure out each agent’s special badge number. In this activity, your spy kids can practice math, spelling and writing skills while creating a secret message for a loved one!

Tessellating Stamps

Grades K-12
Artist Thomas Freese shows how to make a tessellating stamp and use it to create an interlocking pattern. The lesson integrates mathematics and art as the process involves using geometry, measurement, repetition, and patterning to create unusual, appealing designs.

Odd Squad Codebreaker Game

Grades 1-3
This game from Odd Squad will help children with counting and cardinal numbers, and identifying and counting patterns in 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, and 10’s. 

Cyberchase Pattern Player Game

Grades 1-4
Musical beats are a great way to learn about mathematical patterns. Join your child in making visual patterns that play sounds with this game from Cyberchase.

Super Stairs: Patterns of Ordered Pairs

Grades 4-6
Try to find the numerical pattern to describe what happens when Dan runs stairs. This interactive lesson focuses on using what you know about pattern recognition and using data to write expressions in order for you to figure out the equation to model the situation given.

Observations of Climate Change

Grades 6-12
This interactive lesson introduces students to the various ways that people work to understand climate change, particularly in the Arctic. Scientists look for patterns within data sets to help them formulate research questions and then develop predictions that they can test. Students will think about climate change in their own community, collecting and summarizing their own data to form a testable prediction about climate change.

Learn Along Bingo

With Learn Along Bingo, children can view, explore, and play as they learn alongside their PBS Kids friends on the PBS Kids 24/7 channel. We hope your family will use it to inspire learning each and every day.

Next week, we’re learning how to recognize patterns and build basic math skills. Recognizing patterns is important because it helps us to develop investigation and prediction skills. Eventually, we learn how to solve even more challenging problems!

Grades PreK-K

Tune in: Watch Peg + Cat at 7 AM on Tuesday, January 26th.

Play & Learn: In this packet, there are printable activities and everyday learning ideas for you and your child to choose from. As you complete each square, mark it off to celebrate the learning!

Grades 1-2

Tune in: Watch Odd Squad at 1:30 PM on Tuesday, January 26th.

Play & Learn: In this packet, there are printable activities and everyday learning ideas for you and your child to choose from. As you complete each square, mark it off to celebrate the learning!

For even more games and educational resources for young learners, go to the Playing With Patterns Collection on PBS Kids for Parents.