Patterning with partners and lids

Patterning is not a new concept for our children.  It is a process that we have been exploring throughout the school year, so our children were very familiar with the process of patterning before we introduced this activity.  However, patterning with partners is a relatively new process for our current students…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

For this patterning activity, we used many, many plastic lids of various colors and sizes.  We invited the children to sit at the tables and whoever they happened to be sitting next to became their partner in this patterning process.  We gave each pair of children a long sentence strip.  Any long strip of paper will work.  Just be sure it is long enough to make a nice sized pattern, because once the children get the hang of patterning, they will want to keep on going as long as possible…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

Deborah encouraged the children to listen and work cooperatively with their partners to create their patterns.  The children began this process excitedly by quickly lining up lids to fill their sentence strips.  Many of the partners truly had beautiful rows of lids, but no real patterns just yet…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

Deborah and I then began going around the room, working with each set of partners.  We would tell them, “I see you have a very colorful row of lids here.  Do you think we can make a pattern out of it?”  We would then start at the beginning of their row and address the first two lids.  We would point out the colors of those first two lids and say, “I see you have an orange lid and then a red lid.  What color should come next?”  In working with each pair of children, we were encouraging them to take their time to better understand the concept…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

There were moments when our young partners found the process frustrating,  Deborah and I showed the partners how to ask their partner which lid could come next.  We also showed them how they could share their space on the sentence strip or they could create separate rows.  Soon they were all working together to create patterns out of their lids…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

When children work cooperatively, they help to shape each other’s understanding…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

A simple activity like patterning with lids becomes more meaningful because the children are working with their friends toward a common goal.  The results are a thing of beauty…

Patterning with partners by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to grow on: 

Post-it note patterns by Little Preschool on the Prairie

Patterns with shapes and colors by Crayon Freckles

Making apple patterns in preschool by Teach Preschool


By |2013-02-03T06:00:06+00:00February 3rd, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Cathie February 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Hurrah for lids that are so easy to get and end up useful for learning.

    Cathie at

  2. Henrick February 4, 2013 at 1:09 am - Reply

    Patterning is no doubt a great fun for kids 🙂

  3. Belinda February 4, 2013 at 11:17 am - Reply

    I love this idea I’m always looking for ideas that encourage the children to collaborate. I have the childrenn paint a picture together at the easel using one piece of paper. They seem to enjoy it and it teaches them to compromise & negotate.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 4, 2013 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      We love collaborative easel painting! You are so right, it is a wonderful experience in cooperation and negotiation!!

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