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4 x ways to explore pattern

4 x ways to explore repeat patterns.

Patterns are awesome  –  they are a great way for kids to learn about shape, colour, line, and you can link pattern ito literacy and numeracy concepts. 

Below are some different approaches to making repeating patterns. Patterns are not only an important learning opportunity, patterns also lend themselves to the creation of things like wrapping paper, fabric printing, abstract artworks, and beading or weaving projects. Start with simple patterns, working with just two or three shapes or colours, then work your way up to more to challenge the little ones. 


Foam stamps can be made by cutting thin foam into shapes and sticking them with PVA onto some rigid card. Roll or sponge a thin layer of paint then stamp again and again. 

Potatoes make excellent stamps, and withstand plenty of use (only for one day though). Potatoes need to be washed, cut as straight as possible down the centre with a sharp knife. They can be used as is or you can carve into them with linocut tools or even just a butter knife. Make shape of colour patterns this way.

The edges of sturdy cardboard strips of all sizes make excellent stamps. Box card is best for this, something that won’t bend or collapse to easily. Dip the edge in a small amount of paint and then play with making line patters. Or try fold the cardboard into shapes such as a triangle of square before printing your patterns?


Cut shapes make great material for repeating patterns. Make shapes by taking coloured paper, fold it in half as many times as you can, while still beign able to cut through it, normally 4 times is good. Draw one or more shapes onto your folded paper and cut them out. You will end up with an array of shapes to collage patterns with. The more colours of paper the more interesting your patterns will be. 


-To make a textured or patterned roller simply twist a rubber band around a foam roller. The way the rubber band tightens on the foam will determine the shape of your pattern. Roll your altered roller in a thin layer of paint and then do long rolling patterned prints on some larger paper or card. 

– Rollers can be used to make some bold stripe patterns on paper. You will need several colours at least, and simply make roller stripes down the page in repeating colours. 

Stencils are an easy way to repeat one motif again and again, plus they teach your kids to focus on two things at once, holding the stencil still and painting! Stencils are best made out of something water resistant, rigid, and flat. Thin plastics are great (like an ice cream container lid!), but will likely need to be cut by an adult. The kids can just roll over them with a sponge roller to make repeating motif patterns.


Beading provides a fantastic opportunity to practice the fine motor skills, and it can be done with such a huge range of materials. A few materials that have nice easy threading holes that you might not have thought of are pasta, hole punched scraps of card, and coloured straws. Get your kids to make patterns of shapes and colours on some pipecleaners, ribbon, or tough twine. 

 I hope this gets you thinking of pattern next time you approach an art making activity with your kids.

Heres to happy art days!

Until next week,


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