Kindergarten math lends itself to so many hand-on math activities!  We’re pretty sure you’ll agree with us that these ways to practice making patterns are much more fun than worksheets!  We hope you’ll find them quick and easy to prepare, too.

1) Beans.  From lima to kidney, black to pinto, beans are cheap, and readily available.  Plenty of different colors and sizes means it’s easy to have lots of variety in the patterns the kids make.  Give your kids several different kinds to make this activity more challenging, or restrict the number of types to two or three to make it easier.  Perfect for a spring or plants unit or even a fall time activity.  Sentence strips are sturdy enough to take the weight easily.  Tag board also works well, and construction paper will work if you don’t have heavier paper.  This is definitely a white glue project- glue stick glue just isn’t strong enough.

2) Pasta.  Penne, rotini, macaroni, rigatoni – there are so many great varieties of pasta to choose from!  Again, restrict the number of choices to make forming a pattern easier, or offer more choices to make it more challenging.  You could also provide a pattern for your kids to follow.  Endlessly open-ended, you could choose to have your students glue down their creations, or simply mix them all together again and start over!  (This activity lends itself to creating a sorting activity, too! ;) )  Look for holiday shaped pastas around Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter.  Plus, pasta can always be dyed with liquid watercolor or food color to add a different twist to this project.  You can also go 3D by dyeing rigatoni (the tube shaped pasta) different colors and then giving your students yarn to string them on.


3) Cereal.  There are lots of great kinds of cereal that would work well for making patterns.  Best of all, they’re inexpensive and easy to find!  Look out for seasonal cereal to dress up your math centers for special times of the year.  Stringing “o” shaped cereal (like Fruit Loops) on yarn makes for a different twist and an easy, fun way to celebrate 100s day and practice patterning all at the same time!

4) Doodads off garlands.  Excuse the, ehem, technical term, but we here at CKA aren’t too sure exactly what to call them.  ;) Available for different seasons and holidays, too, these wreaths can be found at the dollar store or a party store.  Simply pull off the decorations – no scissors required!  Depending on the number of different decorations there are, one to two wreaths should be enough for the whole class to do this activity.  White glue helps keep the leaves on.  Shiny, er, “doodads” actually stick on with glue stick glue quite well.

5) Foamies – Available in tons of different shapes and sizes, you can choose ones that fit your theme or the season.  Sticker one make it easy to peel and stick and provide great fine motor practice.  Otherwise, glue sticks work well to adhere the regular ones.


Have you used something different to make patterns with?  What’s worked well for you?  Found anything that didn’t work at all?  Please share your wisdom with us!