5 Ways to Learn Patterns Outside
STEM (or Science, Technology, Enginnering, and Math) skills are important ones to work on year round. In the freedom of long summer days outside, they can sometimes get lost in the mix. Together with some of my KBN blogging buddies, today I am sharing how to integrate STEM into your summer fun. One easy way to work STEM activities into your day is to bring them outside so that is what we did with our Math activity. Our four year olds have been working a lot of creating and extending patterns lately. Here are 5 ways we have been working on patterns outside.
5 Ways to Learn Patterns Outside
1. Making Patterns with Musical Instrument
Music is a simple activity to bring outside. Simply put your instruments (we love this collection) in a basket and bring them outside. We like to lay a blanket on the ground and sit together when we play music. Our kids love music and making patterns with instruments is a fun way to practice the concept and deliver auditory skills.
Sit together and offer each child an instrument. The easiest way to make a pattern is to each take turns around the circle making a shake or ring with your instruments. We like to say our noise out loud the first few times so we can establish the pattern. For example "Shake." "Ring." "Clack." Repeat.
2. Creating and Extending Chalk Patterns
Chalk is one of our favorite activities on warm days outside. Making chalk with one of our favorite materials just makes sense. I like to start a pattern on the sidewalk to get them started. Sometimes I join in while they are drawing and doodle one on the sidewalk. Other times I draw one on the patio while they are having Quiet Time for them to discover when they go outside.
3. Patterns with Loose Parts
We use loose parts for a variety of purposes. To encourage pattern making I set them out much like the chalk prompt. I made a simple ABAB pattern on the ground one afternoon on our patio. The rocks and leaves were just collected from our backyard. You can use whatever you have on hand. Flower petals, pinecones, acrons, etc. You could also mix the chalk and loose parts together. Try drawing a simple square or circle frames on the ground and placing the loose parts nearby. What kinds of patterns can you create?
4. Patterns with Our Bodies
We make patterns with our bodies much like patterns with music instruments. One person picks a movement (ex. clap) and then the next person picks something else (ex. jump) and then you have a pattern if you repeat. Sometimes we each do our movement and just go around in the circle. Other times they both pick a movement and then we all make the pattern together. This can be as active or passive as you want. Patterns can be seated ones, such as clap/shrug/blink, or more Active, such as jump/spin/wiggle.
5. Stamping Paint Patterns
For the most part our painting activities are open ended and child directed, but since painting is another one of their favorite activities sometimes I like to provide opportunities to practice other skills while they create. My awesome husband made them this outdoor easel for their birthday and it has been getting a lot of use. Don't worry though, this activity can still be done without an easel. Just tape a large piece of paper to the fence or sidewalk. To work on patterns, we used tempera paint, sponges cut into star shapes, and cups. To prompt practice with patterns, I started an ABCABC pattern for them. Another idea is to offer different shaped sponges or stampers.
Paper or Easel
Summer of Fun STEM Play Blog Hop
Kids Screens and Summertime from Planet Smarty Pants
Summer Sink or Float Fun from Crafty Kids at Home
Blocks in a Kiddie Pool from Mom Inspired Life
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