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  • Writer's pictureLara

Kindergarten Pattern Center Ideas: The BEST Pattern Centers to get your students EXCITED to pattern!


When kids are just starting to explore patterns, it can be helpful to have them start by recreating patterns, then extending patterns, and finally creating patterns. With all of my pattern math centers, I have different patterns (ab, abb, aab, abc, abcd etc) so they can work with many different types of patterns instead of the usual AB pattern.

A graphic that says "pattern math center progression, recreate patterns, extend patterns create patterns" with images of a connecting cube patterning mat, a pattern center with a spinner and pattern roots for students to create and colored popsicle sticks in an abb pattern from a blog about pattern math centers for kindergarten

You can see how I introduce and teach patterns in the teaching patterns in this kindergarten blog post or the teaching patterns in kindergarten video.

Kindergarten Pattern Centers and Activities

See these pattern centers in action in this here!

Recreating Pattern Centers

A graphic that says "recreating patterns" with an image with three snap cube pattern mats and a bear pattern mats with bear counters from a blog about pattern centers from the blog Making Number sense make sense

To help students understand what a pattern is and how to go about creating one, I start with patterning mats with completed patterns and students just have to match the colors or shapes to what they see on the mat. I luckily have access to lots of different types math cubes for variety like these free snap cube patterning mats or connecting cube mats.

Extending Pattern Centers

Extending patterns are the next step I take when students are learning about patterns. The pattern is started for them they complete the pattern filling the empty spaces on mats like these Unifix Cube or Bear Counter Pattern mats.

To add some variety to this type of patterning station I love to add Spin-A-Pattern and Roll-A-Pattern! These patterns I generally introduce after the recreating and extending pattern mats as they help students get closer to creating their own patterns independently.

For Spin-A-Pattern, you’ll spin the spinner and what it lands on is the core or root of the pattern. Your students will start by recreating the root and then continuing the pattern in the space under the spinner.

a graphic that says "extending patterns" with images of three pattern math centers that focus on extending patterns called spin a pattern, roll a pattern and a snap cube pattern mat with a pattern root and snap cubes completing the patterns from a blog about pattern centers for kindergarten from Making Number Sense Make Sense

For Roll-A-Pattern, you’ll roll a traditional or 10 frame dice and look at the corresponding pattern root to figure out which pattern to make. There is an optional recording sheet where your students can write down the patterns they created. For example if they roll a 6 and the pattern is and ABC pattern, they will then create an ABC pattern of their own or one that matches the root on the card depending on how comfortable they are with transferring patterns but keeping the same pattern type.

If you’d like to save on all of these pattern math centers check out the Pattern Math Center Activity Bundle - Hands On for Kindergarten

Creating Pattern Centers

a graphic that says creating patterns, you can make patterns out of so many things with images of math manipulatives you can use to create patterns including beads and pipe cleaners, plastic hashtags, building stem toys, colored popsicle sticks and robot and astronaut mini erasers in patterns from a blog about math pattern centers for kindergarten from the blog Making Number Sense Make Sense

The great thing about this stage of learning about patterns, is you can really use anything you have in your classroom and let your kiddos go to town creating patterns! Giving your students the opportunity to work with different kinds of materials when they are creating their patterns can be really helpful for them to generalize the idea of patterns. The goal is that eventually they will be able to apply that understanding and knowledge to number patterns in our number system like on a hundreds chart.

I have noticed that once students have really grasped the concept of pattern making they continue to make patterns for the rest of the year and notice patterns in their day!

Some ideas would be beads on pipe cleaners, those target hashtags, mini erasers, STEAM toys like these Building Blocks Construction Toys, math cubes, links, buttons, pattern blocks and more!

Which Pattern Center Will You Try First?

  • Snap Cube Patterns

  • Bear Patterns

  • Spin-A-Pattern

  • Roll-A-Pattern

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