Recognizing, following, and creating patterns is an important skill that prepares kids for early math learning and other important cognitive tasks, like problem solving and spatial reasoning. Patterns can exist almost anywhere, from colors that we see to rhythms that we hear. Engaging your child in a rhythm game allows them to explore patterns in a multi-sensory way, and because it doesn’t require any materials, you can play it anywhere—whether you’re hanging out at home, waiting at the doctor’s office, or enjoying an afternoon at the park!
Tell your child that you’re going to create a pattern of sounds and it will be their job to repeat it back to you. Start with a simple AB pattern. For example, you might clap your hands and then pat your lap. (The pattern would be clap, pat, clap, pat.) If your child struggles with the pattern, say, “Listen one more time,” while you slow down the pattern for them to hear. As your child gets more confident with the game, you can make the patterns more complex:
ABC: Clap, pat, stomp, clap, pat, stomp
AABB: Pat, pat, stomp, stomp, pat, pat, stomp, stomp
ABB: Clap, pat, pat, clap, pat, pat, clap
You can also try practicing the same patterns with different movements and sounds, like an AB pattern where you jump and click your tongue instead of clapping and patting your lap. You can even offer to let your child be the pattern creator while you imitate!
Patterns present themselves in a variety of ways in the world around us, but rhythmic patterns allow your child an opportunity to embody the pattern itself and don’t require any specific tools—making them extra fun and flexible! Ready, set, clap!
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