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.

Getting Started

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.

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.

Working with Patterns

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.

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.

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

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.

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


Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

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