Patterning and Algebra Lesson Ideas

  • Make patterns by colour or by number of smarties
  • Use blocks to engaged young children to repeat the, green, orange etc. 
  • Ask young children to sort the silverware or the laundry based on color. 
  • Use shapes to encourage children to determine what comes next----triangle, square, circle, triangle, etc. 
  • Ask children to think of everything they can write with, ride on, that swims, that flies etc. 
  • Ask children how many items in the living room are square or round or heavy etc.
  • Ask them to tell you how many things are made of wood, plastic, metal etc.
  • Extend classification activities to include more than one attribute (heavy and small, or square and smooth etc.)
  • Make simple patterns out of toys or stickers.
  • String some plastic pony beads onto a plastic drinking straw in an easy pattern of alternating colors. Hot glue the first & last beads so they are permanent and won't come off. Provide child with another plastic drinking straw and supply of pony beads in various colors. Have the child attempt to create string(s) of beads to match your sample(s). The straws are easier to thread than string and the samples lay flat on the table. I used colored straws for my samples and provided white straws for the child's use so he knew right away which ones where the samples (and wouldn't try to pull off the glued ones.) You can make this easier/harder by making more complicated patterns, ask "what comes next in the pattern," and so on.