Squares All Around! Our Fun Pattern Activities Teach Kids to Color Block

Photo by kali9 / iStock
Photo by kali9 / iStock

By Rachel Ward

“Watch what I can do!”

Four- and five-year-olds are growing in all areas of development as their brains assemble the puzzle pieces of the world at a rapid-fire pace—so much so that it can even surprise us adults sometimes!

That’s why the curriculum for our Pre-K students gets a little more complex as we add in enhancements like a fine-arts strand, which introduces children to a different famous artist with each new unit.

“Children are capable of learning and understanding more than we think,” says Meg Davis from KinderCare’s Education team. “That includes being able to absorb information about master artists and experiment with their techniques and styles.”

This month, we’re investigating famous color block artist Piet Mondrian, whose artwork offers a triple whammy of learning benefits by giving Pre-K kids a chance to explore patterns in shapes, colors, and 3-D artwork all at the same time.

These 3-D and Pattern Art Activities Offer Tons of Learning Opportunities

Exploring ways to combine bold shapes in bright, solid colors like red, yellow, blue, black, and white makes this a great exercise for Pre-K children. As they work with shapes and colors, they’re learning more than you might think.

“This activity lets children explore familiar colors and shapes in a more complex way,” explains Davis. “As they shift blocks and pieces of paper in different combinations to see what they can create, they’re developing the ability to work with patterns in two and three dimensions, which boosts STEM skills such as problem solving and critical thinking.”

We’re keeping the fun with patterns going at our KinderCare centers during the day. But you can extend that learning at home with our simple (and fun!) ideas below.

Red, Yellow, Red, Yellow! 4 Fun Pattern Activities to Do at Home with Your Child

Photo by artisteer / iStock
Photo by artisteer / iStock

1. Play Around with Colored Blocks

How many patterns can your child create while building a block tower? Is one layer a solid color, followed by another layer of solid color? As your child begins to get the hang of your patterning challenges, start increasing the difficulty. For instance, what if one layer intermixes two colors? Or even three?

2. Get Colorful in the Kitchen

Chopping up fruit for a fruit salad? Before jumbling it all up, have your child create colorful layers of fruit! Whipping up a homemade pizza? Let your child place the toppings on the dough in colorful patterns, whether they’re lines or circles, for a unique learning experience and a lovely presentation on your dinner plate.

3. Make a Nature Pattern

Remember making chains out of dandelions and wildflowers when you were a kid? In the age of iPads and smartphones, simple pleasures like this can get overlooked—so why not teach your child how to do it? Not only is it fun, but they can practice making patterns with the flowers and wind up with something they made all on their own that they’ll be really proud of!

4. Bring out the Crayon Box—and Beyond

There are so many colors in that jumbo crayon box that your child can really stretch their patterning skills—and make a lovely drawing to decorate your fridge! But there are all sorts of things you can use to make patterns, too—think fabric scraps, buttons, beads, and the like. What beautiful creation will YOUR child dream up?

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