Friday, May 17, 2013

A Simple DIY Game for Teaching Patterns

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There's pretty much only one TV show that Jake likes right now, and it's Team Umizoomi on Nickelodeon. Although I curse the show when I'm trying to fall asleep and the theme song plays over and over in my head, I do like that its focus is on preschool math concepts, such as counting, shapes, measurements, sequences, and patterns. The pattern scenes are what Jake has been drawn to the most lately, so I decided he needed a game of his own. 

This pattern activity only took me about 5 minutes to put together. The hardest part was selecting what foam stickers to buy. Since we visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weeks ago (you should add it to your bucket list), I decided to go with an undersea theme for the stickers.

Here's what you need for the activity:
* Foam stickers - I got mine at Michael's, similar here
* Wooden 1.5" circles - purchased at Michael's
* Shell holder (optional but fun to have) - I found mine at the beach but I also saw them at Michael's
* Playing board (optional) - I just used the back of the 12" x 12" wooden panel from Michael's I recently used to make a DIY checkerboard. While you don't need a playing board for this activity, I found it really helped Jake keep his attention focused in one place where all of the pieces were contained.

I had the game set up and ready to go for after nap time. I've found that this is the time of day in which Jake is most focused without wanting to run around and do a million other things. Since he's only 27 months old I started with simple patterns. I guided him on the object of the game, but once we did the first pattern together, he was able to finish the rest on his own. 

After making several different boards of patterns, I then cleared the board and let Jake do whatever he wanted with the playing pieces. He started to sort them on his own, making his own patterns and grouping pieces together. So not only can you use the playing pieces for patterns, they also work well for sorting. 

When I asked Jake if he liked his new game, this was the look he gave me. Another success. And simple to put together!

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