Here are some simple ways to help your child recognize patterns, an essential math basic for kindergartners:
What you need: Pen or pencil and paper
What to do: Write out the alphabet in capital letters look for “Alphabet mirrors.” See if your child can pick out the letters that mirror one another (if you split the letter in half, the halves would look the same, like “W”).
• Look for vertical mirrors (or side-to-side mirrors), with both sides the same, such as “A” and “H.”Look for horizontal mirrors (or up-down mirrors), where the top and bottom are the same, such as “B,” “E,” and “D.”
• Look for the two letters – “X” and “H” – that are mirrored vertically and horizontally
Patterns in nature
What you need: Somewhere outdoors to walk
What to do: Take a walk with your child and keep an eye out for all the patterns you’ll see in the natural world or on the city streets.
• Look for butterflies, moths, feathers, leaves, flowers, seeds from maple trees (those helicopter-looking leaves that are actually called samaras), tree bark, and spider webs. If you live near the ocean, the beach is full of patterns in the water, on shells, and in coral.
• If you don’t have access to the great outdoors, check out the National Geographic website for wonderful examples of patterns in nature:
Patterns with coins
What you need: A pile of change, including pennies, nickles, dimes, and quarters
What to do: Using coins, lay out a simple pattern (such as one nickel, two pennies, and one quarter).
• Ask your child to continue the pattern. Then it can be her turn to start a pattern, and you continue it.
• When it’s your turn again, make it more difficult, with a three- or four-part pattern.