Looking for a quick patterning activity to add to your winter preschool lesson plans? These free printable pattern cards will fit in perfectly to your winter math activities for preschoolers. You can even add them to your kindergarten activities!
Be sure to read how to get five different preschool math activities for winter out of this single printable!
Free Winter Pattern Activities for Kindergarten and Preschool
Winter is unusually long and gray where we live.
Sometimes really long.
And often really gray.
We live in a wide valley with mountains on three sides, so any snow that comes our way, which is not a lot anyway, gets blocks by the mountains.
I always feel like winter is more worth the cold if you can enjoy some snow while it’s here.
Or cute hats and mittens.
Or at the very least some winter themed preschool math activities. (Wink, wink).
Sometimes we get an inversion that makes even your most chipper neighbor feel a little depressed. Sometimes it drizzles for several days. When that happens all I want to do it watch Hallmark movies and eat chicken dumpling soup.
Which makes it hard to plan preschool math activities for winter, you know?
So, that’s where the inspiration for this winter theme printable came from.
But the good news is that this printable is full of bright, vivid colors, offsetting what dreariness may settle mid-winter.
How to Teach Patterns to Preschoolers
Patterns can be anything that repeats in a logical way. For example, vertical stripes on someone’s sweater create a pattern. Patterns can be made up of anything, including numbers, images or shapes, as long as they follow a the ultimate patterning rule: that it is repetitive!
Learn all about patterning in this post: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Positions and Patterns.
Patterns range in complexity, so in preschool and kindergarten, you’ll find the most success if you start with simple patterns and work your way up to longer, more complex patterns. Here is a good order to go by:
These patterns are all practiced in my Daily Lessons in Positions and Patterns Math Unit.
There are many different levels to teaching and learning pattern skills, here’s the developmental sequence for teaching patterning skills to your Preschool or Pre-K students.
~ Stage 1: Recognize a pattern
~ Stage 2: Describe a pattern
~ Stage 3: Copy a pattern
~ Stage 4: Extend a pattern
~ Stage 5: Create a pattern
I would so add that a sixth stage could be created: Filling in a missing pattern pieces.
5 Preschool Math Activities for Winter
If you’re a regular reader, then you know how I love having a printable that will do multiple jobs. While this is a winter patterning activity, I’ll also share with your four additional ways to use this printable, beyond the straight-forward patterning work.
- Free winter patterning cards
- Colorful math manipulatives (optional)
Setting Up Your Preschool Math Activities
I like to introduce most activities like these during circle time and then add them to my math center after introducing them to the class.
Lay the patterning cards in a pile on a tray or work area. Set out the winter pictures to complete the pattern next the to cards, You can put them in a sorting bowl or on a tray or just leave them scattered about.
I find they usually get scattered anyway, so I lay them about the work space so that my preschoolers can easily see the pictures.
Now invite your preschoolers to have some winter math fun with you!
Winter Pattern Cards Activity
If your preschoolers are unfamiliar with some of the images, first allow them to look through the pile of picture cards. They will naturally name the pictures they know and ask about the ones they don’t. (What? A wooden sled?!) This is also an important step in developing oral language skills.
When your child is ready, invite him to select a patterning card from the pile. Have her “read” the pattern aloud by pointing to each picture in order, thus hearing the pattern, too.
Snowman, mittens, snowman, mittens, snowman…
And then invite your preschooler to search through the pile of picture cards to find the mittens card that will complete the pattern.
Some of the pictures come in a few different colors, so your preschooler will have the added challenge of finding the snowman with the red scarf and not the green, for example.
A More Challenging Winter Pattern Cards Activity
One way to make this printable more challenging for you preschoolers is to invite them to continue the pattern off the card. Disclaimer: this will also require you to print out a few more copies of the picture card pages.
Having your preschooler continue the pattern off the card gives them even more practice in visual discrimination skills, as well as sorting skills and patterning.
This patterning extension activity is just one of many that I included in my Positions and Patterns Lesson Plans. You can grab my Sorting Lesson Plans here, too!
To Simplify the Winter Pattern Cards
Some preschoolers, especially younger preschoolers, struggle with patterning, so having extra activities to practice patterns is important. Make this activity more simple by having young children match the picture cards under the pattern cards, thus repeating the pattern underneath. Then, have them fill in the remaining places in the pattern.
Again, this gives your preschooler lots of sorting and visual discrimination practice, but now they also have two patterns to read aloud, which means that they can hear, (and play with) the pattern twice.
Free Printable Pattern Activities for Kindergarten
While you can take this printable as face value, I always like to think up alternate ways to use my printables. Here are two more learning activities for your preschoolers and kindergarteners!
While we spend a lot of time in preschool learning about patterns, patterning math skills are also important for kindergarten students to practice too.
Patterning Practice That Transfers
It’s important for preschoolers to understand the concept of patterning is something that repeats itself. It’s A, B, A, B…and not always tree, gingerbread house, tree…
One way I like to teach this to my preschoolers is by using math manipulatives and having them assign a color, for example, to each picture and make the pattern underneath the pattern card.
Then, a pattern like
Snowballs, sled, snowballs, sled, snowballs…
Is also understood as
Red, green, red, green, red…
This helps preschoolers transfer the knowledge of an AB pattern from one scenario to another.
And this set of winter patterning cards also include ABC patterns, too!
Use Winter Patterning Cards for Sorting
Patterning leads so nicely into sorting, as it should because they both fall under the same math domain of algebra.
The clip art images on this set of winter patterning cards is so beautiful that they’re fun use in so many different preschool math activities for winter. You can sort them into a variety of categories, but my all time favorite way to use the cards for sorting is to invite my preschoolers to sort them into categories they define themselves. I am always surprised by their creativity.
Get Your Free Winter Patterning Cards Here
Think these patterning cards are something you want to add to your preschool math center or small group preschool math activities? You can grab your own copy by clicking the image below.
But keep reading for even more winter theme printables and more preschool math activities for winter!
Want More Winter Theme Printables?
From hot cocoa counting activities and domino games to graphing activities for a penguin theme, try these printables and add them to your preschool winter activities.
More Printable Pattern Activities for Preschoolers?
These are some reader favorites!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.
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