December 13, 2012

Patterns with Cranberries and Popcorn

We have limited Christmas decorations this year because they're all in storage back in the States.  We will enjoy them next year, but we needed a little something to decorate with this year.  I decided to make garland out of cranberries and popcorn.

This is my first time making garland.  At first it seems tedious, but as you go on it is relaxing, too.  It is a great way to be reflective in this busy season.  This would also be a terrific way to spend some time in conversation with your child.

Pull out some thread to the desired length, thread your needle, and tie a really good knot in the end.  With younger children, man the needle yourself or look for one of those plastic needles at a craft store.  Children can help by sliding the cranberries and popcorn gently down the thread.  They can also help by determining the pattern and laying out the cranberries and popcorn in order of the chosen pattern.

The understanding of patterns is an essential early math skill, and is useful in other subjects like reading as well.  Pre-schoolers will enjoy making AB patterns (two items alternate), ABB patterns (one of the first item followed by two of the second item; repeat), and ABC patterns (three items in a row repeat in sequence).

Children need practice with patterns in the following ways:

-Identifying patterns

-Adding to existing patterns

-Creating their own patterns

-Filling in blanks in patterns

Understanding patterns is an acquired skill.  Expect learning to take time and practice.  Start as simply as possible, and increase the complexity as understanding improves.  Use colors, shapes, numbers, sounds, objects, words - you name it!  Soon your child will be finding patterns everywhere! 

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