Patterning With Colorful Dots Preschool Math Activity

This patterning activity is easy to setup with colorful self-adhesive dots and some recycled plastic cups. Kids can learn to recognize, copy and repeat patterns with hands-on play like this patterning activity. 

beginner math with plastic cups and dots

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Patterns are all around us - in the designs on our clothing, in sing-song rhymes, and in the chalk drawings we use to create a hopscotch in the driveway! 

Math activities like this one are simple to set up but provide an opportunity to exercise cognitive skills such as thinking and reasoning. As children begin to recognize patterns, they can learn to predict what color or number comes next in a sequence. 

In this activity, kids create patterns with colorful dot stickers to play a matching game with disposable cups.

Patterning activity for preschoolers


Patterning activity


Materials list

  • small paper or plastic cups
  • colorful dot stickers
  • measuring tape or ruler
  • game board.

For the game board, I used a wooden slat from a window blind. This provided a long platform on which to lay out a design with stickers. You could also use a long piece of narrow cardboard.

Use a ruler or measuring tape to space the stickers evenly.


Patterning math activity for preschoolers


How to play

1. Create a pattern with sticker dots on the game board. 

Begin with simple patterns for younger children:

                        blue - yellow - blue - yellow - blue - what comes next?

Kids can follow a sequence you make, or create their own patterns.

Add another color as the skill level increases.


Preschool math with recycled disposable cups


2. Place stickers on cups.

Match the cups to the pattern on the game board. Cover the dot on the board with the cup.


Related:   Matching games provide fun opportunities for kids to recognize and sort colors.

Learning through play

1. Kids can take turns in small group play choosing the next color in the pattern.

2. Encourage kids to name the colors as they are covered by a cup.

3. Extend the play by sorting, counting and stacking cups according to the colored dots.


RelatedHands-on Sequencing Activities for Preschoolers from Homeschool Preschool


Patterning with self-adhesive dots




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