patterning games for kids

5 Patterning Games for Kids

Red. Blue. Red. Blue.

Big. Big. Small. Big. Big. Small.


Patterns are everywhere!

If you’re looking for a fun way to practice patterns with your kids, give one of these games a try. They’re:

  • Easy to set up
  • Fun to play
  • Full of learning

Because learning shouldn’t be complicated!

5 Patterning Games for Kids

1. Potato Stamps

The humble potato provides a perfect stamp when you cut it in half. If you keep your cut plain, you can experiment with color based patterns.

You can also cut a shape into each half of your potato, and use those to create shaped patterns.

Here’s what you’ll need:


1 potato per person

Tempera Paint (affiliate link.) you’ll need at least 2 colors.

Construction paper

1 Paper plate per person

Paring knife


Cut the potato in half lengthwise for your child.

Pour a small pile of 1 color paint onto one section of the paper plate.

Pour a small pile of a 2nd color of paint onto another section of the paper plate.

Show your child how to dip one half of the potato into the paint, cut side down.

Let your child stamp the potato onto the paper.

Have your child dip the other half into the second paint color.

After a few minutes of free stamping, make a pattern and ask your child to copy it.

Then, let them make a pattern for you to copy.

Continue experimenting with colored patterns.

If Desired:

Use the paring knife to cut away part of the potato, leaving a raised shape behind. Have your child experiment with stamping, and creating shape patterns.

2. Build a Nature Pattern

Head outside for a nature walk, and let your child gather materials for pattern building. When you get back inside, spread out her finds on a large piece of newspaper. Then it’s time to create.


A variety of items from nature, such as:

  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Sticks
  • Grass blades
  • Moss
  • Small rocks


Digital camera (the one on your smartphone works great!)

White paper


After you’ve spread the natural items on the table, encourage your child to look for items she can build a pattern out of. Have her  build her pattern on the white paper.

She can make a colored pattern like this:

Something green, something brown, something green, something brown

An item pattern like this:

Rock, flower, grass, rock, flower, grass

A texture pattern like this:

Hard rock, soft flower, hard rock, soft flower

Or any other pattern she can think of. Nature is fun to play with!

Once the pattern is created, have your child take a picture of it. Then, let her shake the items off the paper and begin again.

3. Muffin Cup Patterns

This game is perfect for when you’re cooking dinner. Just set your child up nearby to play while you work. Building patterns with small items will encourage fine motor skills.


A muffin pan (6 or 12 hole)

A variety of beans and small noodles

White Paper

A quart size Ziploc bag


Set the muffin pan on the counter.

Measure out 1/4 cup of 6 different types of beans or noodles.

Put the beans and noodles in a pile.

Have your child sort them into the muffin holes, with one type of object in each hole.

Once the items are sorted, create a pattern from them on the white paper for your child to continue.

Have your child build a pattern for you to continue.

Alternate turns.

Have your child put all of the beans and noodles into a Ziploc bag to sort again another day.

4. Lego Patterns

My kids love Legos, so I had to include this one! Have your child gather your Lego collection, and then sit down together to play. This game teaches your children that the same pieces can be used to build a variety of patterns.


Legos in a variety of colors and sizes


Each player secretly picks one Lego brick, and conceals it inside his or her hand.

When everyone is ready, count to 3 aloud.

On 3, everyone reveals their piece by opening his or her hand.

Everyone looks at all the pieces.

Everyone hurries to gather more pieces that are similar to all the pieces selected.

Everyone builds their own pattern out of those similar pieces.

Compare patterns. Use words such as color, shape, and size as you talk about the patterns.

Ask your child if all the patterns ended up the same.

Take apart your builds, and try again.

5. Letter Patterns

This game is perfect for young learners. It practices letter identification.


A dry erase board and marker


A piece of white paper and a marker


Write a letter pattern on the board or paper for your child to continue. You can start with easier patterns, and then make them harder. Here are some examples:

  • ELLIEELLIEELLIE (use your child’s name!)
  • bdbdbdbdbdbdbd

You can create tons of patterns using only letters.

To change things up a bit, alternate turns with your child. Mine always love creating patterns for me to continue.

As You Play

While playing, read the patterns aloud. This will help your child use multiple senses to learn about patterns.

Do you have a favorite patterning game for kids? Please share in the comments!

reasons to sing the alphabet song

Three Reasons to Sing the Alphabet Song With Your Child


Do you remember singing the alphabet song as a kid? I know I do!

Familiarity with the alphabet is a huge predictor in reading success.

Signing this catchy song is a fun introduction to the alphabet. Here are three reasons to sing the alphabet song

1. Children Memorize Songs Quickly

Ever had a song stuck in your head? It just keeps replaying, without you even thinking about it. We are musical creatures, and easily remember words to songs.

Research shows that songs are a good way to teach academic material, because they are easily memorized. The beat, rhythm, and tune get embedded in our brain, and we find ourselves singing it again and again.

We can use this to our advantage when teaching our kids. The Alphabet Song will help them quickly memorize the names of the letters.

2. Singing the ABC Song Preps Your Student for Letter Identification

The Alphabet Song introduces your child to letters in a fun, non-threatening way. They just have to sing the song.

And while they are singing? They are building neuron paths in the brain that will later be associated with letter identification.

They are building a foundation.

You can’t build a house without a foundation.

Likewise, you can’t learn to read without a foundation. The alphabet IS the foundation for reading success. The Alphabet Song preps the brain for the important work of learning the alphabet.

3. You Can Teach Some Simple Activities with the ABC Song

Attention spans of young children are short. That means we have to take advantage of short teachable moments that occur throughout the day.

Your child will benefit more from consistent, short lessons than from long, drawn out ones.

Working with your child while singing the alphabet song will help you to increase your child’s reading skills without frustration.

Here’s How

Before you sit down with your child, quickly write the alphabet on a piece of paper. As you sing The Alphabet Song together, have him point to each letter.

You can also write each letter on a piece of paper, and spread them across the floor. As you child sings, have her jump from one letter to the next.

These quick activities help your child associate letter names with the letter shapes.

You want your child to sing the ABC song. Start singing it early, and often. Talk about letters as you’re out and about.

The more you play with letters, the easier your child will pick them up.

What are your reasons for singing The Alphabet Song?

Share in the comments!

what is tanner learning

What Is Tanner Learning?

Are you struggling to engage your children in learning?

Do you feel like learning games take too much effort or need too many weird supplies?

Are you ready for learning to be fun?

Hi! I’m Lisa. I’m a certified teacher in Washington State, with a Master’s Degree in Elementary Reading and Literacy. I’m an educational expert.

I’m also a homeschooling mama to seven children. Life is busy, and I don’t have time for complicated setups or intense prep.

I like simple and fun. That’s how learning looks around here.

We rarely use textbooks. My children are creating, moving, and singing as they learn.

Engage Your Children in Learning

Tanner Learning strives to help parents bridge the gap between learning and fun. I’ll be sharing ways for parents to play an active role in the educational process.

Whether your children are homeschooled like mine, go to public school, or are participating in a different educational path, you’ll find ideas to make learning fun.

Subscribe to Stay Up to Date

If you’re ready to make learning enjoyable, be sure to subscribe to my posts! I will add a new simple, engaging educational activity each week. Best of all–those activities won’t break the bank or eat up your free time as you prepare.

You’ll also be the first to learn about my courses as they become available. Perhaps you’ll be a Beta tester for me.

My Courses

I’m currently working on my first course–Teaching Reading Through Play. It’ll debut first on the Schoolhouse Teachers site.

Designed for students who know their letters, this course will help parents teach them how to read. It’ll be play based, and very engaging.

I’m working on 36 weeks of lessons, with 5 lessons each week. To keep your child’s attention, my lessons are short. It’ll be a slide show based course with video support as necessary.

My next course will be a writing course for early writers.


Do you need advice from an educational expert? I’m available for email or phone consultations. Click here to contact me for an initial consultation.

[Photo credit: Got Credit]