Patterning With Colorful Dots: Fun and Easy Math for Kids

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! Through games and activities, children can learn to recognize, copy and repeat patterns. Recycle some plastic cups for this fun patterning game!

Patterning math activity for early learners - Preschool Toolkit

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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 math activity for early learners - Preschool Toolkit

You will need small paper or plastic cups, colorful dot stickers , a measuring tape or ruler, and a 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 cardboard.

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


Patterning math activity


Here are a few suggestions for play:

1. Repeat a pattern with sticker dots two or three times 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.

Patterning math activity for early learners - Preschool Toolkit

2. Place stickers on several disposable cups.

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


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.


 STEAM kids is 50+ science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities for kids. You'll find hands-on projects to continue exploring math and other science related topics in fun and educational ways.

Here's where you BUY the book!

STEAM Kids book with over 50 exciting activities - Preschool Toolkit


You'll find more games and activities on our 
Math board on Pinterest.

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