In kindergarten, kids practice patterns … the more the better! Categorizing seeds and beans will work, and weaving helps too … but here’s a practical piece of clothing you can make with your child that can’t help but be fun.
Although this activity uses plastic jewels and flower shapes, it can be easily adapted to work for boys, too: just substitute different shapes and materials such as beads and star shapes.
What You Need:
- Clear plastic kids’ belt
- Small, flat glue-on “jewels”
- Plastic vinyl (available at fabric and craft stores), in 3-4 colors
- Craft glue (check the bottle to make sure it works on plastic)
What You Do:
- Explain to your child that you will make a patterned belt, using these supplies. Then ask your child to help you prepare the project. Have her separate all the “jewels” by color, and put them in separate piles. (This will require categorization, another kindergarten math and science skill.)
- Take the vinyl pieces and cut out at least 12 four-petaled flowers, the same width as the belt, in two different colors. Then cut at least 12 more four-petaled flowers, ¼” smaller in size. Have your child categorize these flowers into color and size-ordered piles, too.
- Now it’s time for patterns! Lay the belt out on a work surface, and invite your child to make a pattern. She’ll have lots of choices; if it’s overwhelming, it’s also OK to remove a layer of flower, or limit color choices. Whatever you do, encourage your child to develop a pattern across the length of the belt.
- When your child has laid everything across the belt, help her glue it down. Really solid glue usually requires some parent help, so go ahead!
- Give your belt time to dry, and then wear it in style. It’s a great fashion accessory … and a daily reminder that math is all around us, and every kid can practice it, given the right materials.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.