The Meadows

Primary School

‘Play Together, Learn Together, Achieve Together’


Looking for and finding patterns helps children notice and understand mathematical relationships.  The focus in this section is on repeating patterns, progressing from children copying simple alternating AB patterns to identifying different structures in the ‘unit of repeat’, such as ABB or ABBC. Patterns can be made with objects like coloured cubes, small toys, buttons and keys, and with outdoor materials like pine cones, leaves or large blocks, as well as with movements and sounds, linking with music, dance, phonics and rhymes. Children can also spot and create patterns in a range of other contexts, such as printed patterns, timetables, numbers and stories.

This includes:

  • Continuing an AB pattern e.g. blue, green, blue, green or acorn, leaf, acorn, leaf etc.  What comes next?  How do you know?
  • Making their own AB pattern using a variety of equipment e.g. red bead, yellow bead, red bead, yellow bead or big bear, little bear, big bear, little bear etc. 
  • Spotting an error in an AB pattern and fixing it.  Then we move on to:
  • Continuing an ABC pattern and create their own e.g. red, yellow, blue, red, yellow, blue or stomp, clap, nod, stomp, clap, nod.
  • Continuing a pattern which stops mid unit.
  • Make their own ABB and ABBC patterns and spot errors.
  • Begin to symbolise the patterns e.g. we will call the red cube 'A' and the yellow cube 'B' so we've made an AB pattern.
  • Make a pattern which repeats around a circle.
  • make a pattern around a border that has a set number of spaces.
  • Patterns spotting in their World e.g. in stories, nursery rhymes, in their environment, fabric patterns, wrapping paper etc.

Things do can do at home to support your child in this area:

  • Building towers with different types of coloured patterns.
  • Creating patterns with their toys e.g. car, ted, car, ted etc.  Then you can create patterns with movements or sounds e.g. stomp, clap, stomp, clap or moo, baa, moo, baa etc.  Always encourage them to talk about their pattern.
  • Use the ideas above but make the patterns more complex e.g. ABC pattern (see above).
  • Create a pattern with objects and ask your child to finish it e.g. cow, sheep, dog, cow, sheep...what is missing?
  • Challenge your child to make an AB pattern with their dolls and cars.
  • Give your child a plastic/paper plate and encourage them to make a repeating pattern on it e.g. gummed shapes to create a repeating shape pattern e.g. square, triangle, square, triangle etc.
  • Challenge your child to create their own patterned gift wrap paper - stampers are excellent for this even shapes cut into vegetables are great.