Preschool is a wonderful time to introduce children to patterns! Jenae, educator and creator of the blog I Can Teach My Child, shares a wonderful fall patterning activity using apples.
Begin by creating apple coloring pages. You can do this by free-handing apple shapes onto a piece of card stock and making copies or by finding a black and white clip art print on the internet or through your word processing software, using it to create and print a coloring page. Have you students color in the apple coloring pages so that they have three different colors of apples - red, green, and yellow.
- Arm your preschoolers with crayons and invite them to practice coloring in the lines while creating their apple cutouts.
- Print apple coloring pages onto watercolor paper then provide students with brushes, water, and watercolor paints, inviting them to paint their cutouts.
- Provide students with scraps of red, green, and yellow construction paper and invite them to collage their apple cutouts.
- Set out shallow bowls of red, green, and yellow craft paint along with pre-cut apple stamps (made from real apples!) and invite your students to "color" their cutouts with the stamps.
Once the apple coloring pages are colored and have been left to dry (if needed!), invite students to cut them out. This is another great fine motor building exercise. Armed with their cutouts, the patterning can officially begin! Start with simple patterns (e.g. using only two colors in an ABAB sequence) and graduate to harder patterns that use all three colors. Have students model their favorite pattern, gluing the cutouts to a piece of construction paper or stringing them together to create a festive garland.
This exercise would also work well using pumpkins and gourds, popular Halloween characters, different colors of Indian corn, or various Halloween candy shapes. You might also consider creating pattern "recipe cards" where a particular pattern is modeled and students use their pieces to mimic the sequence for visual as well as verbal instruction.