This post originally appeared January 13, 2011.
Have you ever seen store made pattern boards? They are usually a rectangular card that displays a pattern. Your kids can use these to practice patterns until they are skilled enough to make them on their own. These pattern boards are fun, and certainly educational. . . but they can also be pricey. So why not make your own?
what you need: shape pattern board printout ~ felt, construction paper or card stock ~ scissors ~ contact paper ~ cardboard
Use the Shape Tracers (found on the shape pattern board printout) to trace each shape onto the felt, construction paper or card stock. You’ll want to make 8 -10 of each shape. I used felt for a couple of reasons; I have a flannel board so these can be used with it, and they are sturdy. Cut them out. Prepare the Pattern Boards by cutting around the large rectangles. When I made them, I taped the pattern boards to a piece of construction paper, leaving a long space to the right for the pattern to be extended. To make them a little stronger, add a piece of cardboard to the back before applying contact paper. Old cereal boxes work perfect for this type of support. Apply contact paper to the boards.
Sit down with your kids, on the floor or at the table. Hand them a pattern board and take one yourself. Spread the felt shapes out between you. While you are working on yours, slowly and quietly describe what you are doing. “I’m going to cover the triangle with a red triangle. I see a blue circle goes next. Hmmm, how do I finish this pattern? Red triangle, blue circle, red triangle, blue circle, red triangle. . . OH, I know! Blue circle!” Once you have shown how to use the pattern board sit back and watch. If your kids figure it out right away, great, bring out the harder ones! If not, don’t worry one bit about it. No need to correct them, instead comment on exactly what you see. “Oh, you chose to put the green heart on the red triangle. Interesting!” This is the perfect activity to leave it out for the week. If you have a shallow box, shoe box lid, or cookie sheet, put the pieces in that.
Tips (to maximize learning): 1. Wouldn’t this be a great to take along for waiting in a doctors office, or at a restaurant? 2. If you make the shapes out of construction paper, add contact paper to them also. 3. Once your little ones have had some pattern practice, take away the boards and see what pattens they can come up with on their own.
This post is a part of the SHAPES lesson plan.