Learning math improves working memory, attention, and other fundamental cognitive skills. Several studies have found that a child’s math skills when they enter kindergarten predict their future academic performance in math and reading throughout elementary school.1 Preschool and kindergarten math skills lay the groundwork for later learning of more advanced math concepts. One of those crucial early skills is patterning.

Patterns are logically repeating arrangements of things, and they are one of the first things children learn. For young children, the arrangement of colors, shapes, gestures, sounds, images, and numbers is an important concept that contributes significantly to their early math understanding. Find out more about understanding patterns and their importance in early learning in this blog.

At the preschool age,there are two types of patterns to look for and practice: repeating patterns and growing patterns. Fortunately, both of these patterns are hidden in your child’s daily activities, and learning them is a lot of fun.

Now, let’s take a look at few fun patterns that can be extremely beneficial to your preschooler:

1. Color Patterns: Color patterns can be found almost anywhere, and your child is likely to enjoy spotting and creating them. Legos®, blocks, colored toys, magna tiles, etc., lend themselves to creating color patterns like red-blue-green-yellow-red-blue-green-yellow. Color rainbows that follow a color pattern with your child, and help them learn and follow the pattern.
1. Size Patterns: Sorting between sizes such as small and large is important for any activity or any profession. Shoes, toys, and even utensils can help your child distinguish and sort between large and small objects. You can also use routine activities to help them understand the concept of big and small. Demonstrate the size difference and continue pointing out objects of various sizes throughout their surroundings.
1. Shape Patterns: A child learns about shape in the same way as size, through observation. The toys you bring for your child come in a variety of shapes, and they’re a great place to start teaching them about shapes. To start with, they can be taught about the most fundamental shapes , such as circles and squares, before moving on to triangles, ovals, and other more complicated shapes.
1. Texture Pattern: One of the most enjoyable ways for children to learn about things is through sensory exploration. Texture is important in children’s lives, whether they’re playing with slime, rock, paper, clay or dough, or just exploring how different objects feel. Exploring the sense of touch through textures also helps preschoolers build vocabulary and be more descriptive when speaking and articulating their world.
1. Temperature: Even young children can start measuring temperature. You can begin teaching them about temperature with simple concepts such as hot and cold. Teaching these concepts and engaging preschoolers in related activities is essential for preparing them for the topic of temperature. Asking your child to think about places and objects in your house that have different temperatures is a good place to start. This will get them thinking about temperature and why it is important.
1. Number Patterns: A sequence of numbers with a common relationship is known as a number pattern. For example, each number in the sequence 2,5,8,11 increases by three. In general, once a child has gained confidence with numbers and can count without assistance, they are ready to begin exploring sequences. Math is, at its core, the study of numbers and their relationships. That is why, before moving on to more complex mathematical topics, it is critical to ensure that your child has a firm grasp of number patterns and sequences.

So, how can you teach patterns to a preschooler?

• Sorting: If your child is in preschool, you can assist them in sorting items before they learn to recognize patterns.
• Matching: You can teach your child about patterns while also teaching them to do chores! Ask your child to assist you in folding the laundry by matching socks by size and color and then putting them into pairs.
• Counting: Children are constantly exposed to numbers and patterns in their daily lives. So take advantage of the opportunity to formally teach them counting as a math topic using patterns; all you have to do now is train their brain to figure out what comes next.
• Rhymes: Songs and rhymes such as “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe,” “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I Caught A Fish Alive,” “Five Little Monkeys,” and others are entertaining ways to teach children numbers and ensure that they can count without difficulty. To help them see what you’re doing, count with your fingers as you go.

The development of mathematical thinking, such as counting, problem-solving, drawing inferences about number combinations, and even algebra, is aided by encouraging a child’s understanding of patterns. Furthermore, understanding patterns can help your child develop their social skills, such as taking turns while playing or adhering to school rules, such as raising your hand, waiting to be called on and sharing.

So, which pattern did your child spot first? Leave your response in the comments section below. If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out BYJU’S FutureSchool Blog to learn more about patterns and related topics.

References:

1. ten Braak, D., Lenes, R., Purpura, D. J., Schmitt, S. A., & Størksen, I. (2022). Why do early mathematics skills predict later mathematics and reading achievement? The role of executive function. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 214, 105306. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.JECP.2021.105306
2. Cool ways to teach your preschooler patterns | Parenting. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/cool-ways-to-teach-your-preschooler-about-patterns/
3. 20 Hands-On Pattern Activities for Preschoolers – Empowered Parents. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://empoweredparents.co/pattern-activities-for-preschoolers/
4. 5 Ways to Teach Your Child Patterns and Boost Their Maths Skills – Reading Eggs. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://readingeggs.co.uk/articles/2015/02/18/how-to-teach-your-child-patterns/
5. Maths Patterns: The Importance of Math Patterns for Preschool Children. (n.d.). Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.byjusfutureschool.com/blog/understanding-patterns-the-importance-of-math-patterns-for-preschool-children/