The one essential preschool math skill to teach preschoolers and toddlers

Patterning: The Foundation of Preschool Math Skills

Patterning is a key precursor to math proficiency in preschoolers, laying the groundwork for future academic success. It offers practical benefits, simplifying daily routines and transitions for children and parents alike.

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When we think of teaching math to preschoolers, the first concepts that often come to mind are counting, addition, and subtraction. However, before diving into these numerical basics, there’s a foundational skill that often gets overlooked: patterning. This article will explore why patterning deserves the spotlight in early math education and how it serves as a building block for more complex mathematical understanding.

Understanding the concept of patterning goes beyond just being able to complete a sequence of colors or shapes. A comprehensive grasp includes the ability to label, verbalize, and replicate patterns. This skill is not just an academic exercise; it has practical applications that stretch into everyday life, providing a structured way for children to understand the world around them.

The Science Behind Patterning

According to research, preschoolers who master patterning skills early on are likely to have better math achievement in subsequent years. Mastery of patterning is not limited to merely completing a pattern; it involves a deeper understanding. Children should be able to label and verbalize patterns like AB, ABB, AAB, ABC, and even apply these patterns using different objects or concepts.

Beyond academic advantages, understanding patterns provides a structured way for children to interpret the world. Whether it’s the sequence of a daily routine or the arrangement of objects in space, recognizing patterns offers a way to predict what comes next, reducing uncertainty and stress.

Patterning in Everyday Life

If we pause to consider, we’ll see that patterns are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. The sequence of our daily tasks, the steps involved in completing chores, and even the arrangement of objects in our homes all exhibit some form of patterning. For children, understanding this concept can have immediate and tangible benefits, including fewer power struggles and a more manageable set of expectations for both parents and youngsters.

This isn’t just theoretical; it’s practical and applicable. When children understand what comes next in a sequence or routine, it can lead to smoother transitions and less resistance to change. Imagine the ease of moving from playtime to bedtime when your child understands the pattern of activities leading up to that transition.

The Brown Bear Learning Kit: A Resource for Teaching Patterning

Preschooler replicating the ABAB pattern under the pattern strip using the extra card pieces. Activity from the Brown Bear, Brown Bear Preschool Learning Kit.
Preschooler replicating the ABAB pattern under the pattern strip using the extra card pieces. Activity from the Brown Bear, Brown Bear Preschool Learning Kit.

Wondering where to start with teaching this crucial skill? The Brown Bear, Brown Bear learning kit is an excellent resource that includes 10 patterning strips designed to introduce your child to various types of patterns. The kit also provides 36 sorting cards featuring different animals in various colors, making it a versatile tool for teaching both sorting and patterning.

Beyond just patterning, each learning kit offers activities across six different subjects: math, literacy, science, social studies, physical development, and brain boosters. This multidisciplinary approach ensures that your preschooler gets a holistic educational experience, covering a wide range of skills necessary for their development.

Teach Patterning Math Skill to Preschoolers Today

So, what math skills activities for preschoolers should you start with? The Brown Bear, Brown Bear learning kit, includes 10 patterning strips to expose your preschooler to different types of patterns. The kit also has 36 sorting cards are provided (6 different animals in 6 different colors) so you can have a party with sorting and patterning!

Now, what I described is only part of the math activities. Each learning kit covers activities across six subjects: math, literacy, science, social studies, physical, and brain boosters – so you will be able to cover a wide range of skills for preschoolers.

To summarize, the pattern cards in the kit will enable children to:

  1. Learn various pattern combinations
  2. Help you help them label patterns (AB, ABB, AAB, ABC)
  3. Use the 36 sorting cards provided to replicate patterns AND eventually create their own patterns
  4. In addition to mastering patterns, be the champion of sorting and patterning by sorting all 36 cards by animal color and background color shown below.
Preschooler sorted their 36 animal cards based on rainbow colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple). Each row is sorted by the animal by rainbow color and the columns are organized by background colors from left to right.

Show us how you ready, set, LEARN! Follow @tigerkubz on Instagram and use #tigerkubz on your post with your little learner in action using the pattern cards! You’ll be entered for a special prize for sharing!

Not on Instragram? Email hello @ tigerkubz dot com with your picture and you’ll be entered!

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