Math Helping Your Three-Year-Old Identify and Predict Patterns

Once you start looking for patterns, you will see them everywhere. There are patterns in colors, shapes, sounds, dances and even daily routines! Recognizing patterns is a skill that translates directly into
algebraic thinking, so by exploring these ideas now, you will be setting the stage for bigger math ideas later. Young children can explore very simple repeating patterns in a "monkey-see, monkey-do" fashion. Encourage your child to copy patterns that you can make, and then you can copy your child's patterns.

Support your child's ability to recognize patterns:

Make a Snack: Pattern Necklaces

Using string and fruit-flavored cereal Os, create necklaces with color patterns. Start with something simple, such as two colors repeating. When your child is ready, try more colors for a larger pattern. Then comes the fun part: eating in a pattern!

Grover's Winter Games

Grover is attending the winter games. Using numbers, patterns and colors to solve problems, your child can watch the athletes in their skiing, snowboarding and ice skating competitions.

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Dance to Patterns

This age is a great time to explore songs that use movement patterns with songs. Some favorites include "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and "The Wheels on the Bus." If you are adventurous, make up your own dance to a familiar  song, adding patterns like jump, clap, spin around, jump, clap, spin around.

Playing with Patterns

Playing with patterns can be fun. Try these four activities with your child to practice patterning skills.

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Build Pattern Block Towers

The next time you and your child build a tower with blocks, try alternating between squares and rectangles, or, if you are using colored blocks, alternate colors, such as blue block, green block, blue block, green block. Have your child copy your tower and then see if you can copy one that she creates.

Cookies of the Caribbean

Cookie Monster is dressed like a pirate and looking for a cookie jar. Your child can practice pattern and shape identification skills while helping Cookie Monster collect and sort gems along the way to find the cookie jar.

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Create Sticker Patterns

Little ones might still lack the fine motor control to draw, but stickers are a great way to create different patterns. A package of foil stars or colorful dots can lead to lots of pattern-play fun. Try red star, blue star, yellow star, red star, blue star, yellow star, etc. Have your child say each color or shape out loud as he places the sticker down.

Marthur Stickerbook Mashup

Your child can create and print her own sticker book picture page featuring characters from both the Arthur and Martha Speaks series. What kind of story can she tell in one picture?

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Help Your Child Learn to Love Math with Curious George

Curious George is a little monkey who wants to explore and discover new things. Like George, children are always learning! And his interactions with patterns, measurements, and shapes can help your child begin to see math in the world around them.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Three-Year-Old

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