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Patterning with Bugs

Patterning with Bugs
Messiness: Low
Age Range: 2y - 5y
Estimated Time: <30 mins

Activity Designer

Nicole Duggan
159 Projects

I wanted to introduce Natalie to patterns so I decided to use something that will really get her attention....spiders!

How We Did It

Patterning with Bugs
I picked up an inexpensive bag of plastic spider rings (with Halloween right around the corner, the options were endless) to use for sorting and patterning. I cut the ring part off of the spider so the spiders would lay flat and look more "real".
Patterning with Bugs
First we sorted the spiders into two piles - orange and black. I never miss an opportunity to invite my kids to sort things! It is such an important early math concept.
Patterning with Bugs
Then we worked with patterns in a few different ways. This was really her first exposure to patterns. First, I put a row of spiders in front of her. "Look at my row of spiders: black, orange, black, orange, black, orange. Can you make a row of spiders just like mine?" She copied the spiders with a row right below mine.
Patterning with Bugs
Then, we tried a row of spiders together. This time I started with orange to change the pattern. "Orange, black, orange, black. What comes next?". "Orange!" We would celebrate and I would say something like "What a long pattern we are making! Or what a fun spider pattern this is" so she made the connection that this was a pattern.
Patterning with Bugs
I also tried a different approach. I made a pattern with circles on a strip of paper (black, orange, orange) and had her match the spiders to the circles. Then after she matched them we pointed to each spider and said the pattern aloud. Then I'd ask what comes next?
Patterning with Bugs

By the end of this activity, Natalie was shouting "Let's try another pattern!" I'm not sure if it was the spiders that she loved or the celebrating that we did each time we figured out a pattern. Either way, I'd say it was a success!

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