This popsicle stick pattern activity is such a great activity for a winter day, a busy bag activity or a center in a preschool or elementary classroom. It is easy to make and is a simple activity to work on early learning skills such as color matching and patterns.
My mother in law created this pattern activity for my oldest and it has remained a staple in our busy boxes through all of my kids. It’s such a great way for kids to work on so many great math concepts and is a fun way to work on fine motor skills as well. Bonus, most of these supplies are likely already in your craft bin. As a developmental pediatric nurse I love activities that are fun for my kids and work on key learning skills!
- Popsicle sticks
- Colored stickers
- Card stock paper
- Pan for cards (optional)
How To Make Your Popsicle Stick Pattern Activity
I love how easy this activity is to make, and how inexpensive the materials are! You can get different size popsicle sticks, we chose the normal size sticks which makes it a bit more of a challenge for my kid’s fine motor skills. If you are using this activity with toddlers I would recommend the bigger size craft sticks.
First, you need to cut your paper down to size. If you get a tray for your cards make sure to cut the paper to the size of the tray. These will be your pattern cards for this activity. I recommend using card stock because these will get lots of use and card stock will hold up much better than printer paper.
Next, use craft sticks to create outlines on your paper. You can do as many as you would like on one piece of paper. We decided to do 3 per page.
Once you have the stick outlines on the pattern cards you can then create patterns with the stickers on both the popsicle sticks and on the card stock. It is fun to let your kids make their own patterns during this step!
Mix up the craft sticks, pick a card to put in your tray and you are ready to play!
How To Modify This Activity For Kids Of All Ages
You can make this activity simpler by using solid color sticks. This post by Simple Everyday Mom is a great one to refer to. This simple color matching activity is perfect for kids down to 18 months old. You can have your child say the name of the colored stick as they match the popsicle stick to the pattern card for added learning opportunities.
I would say the three colors on one stick is perfect for kids between the ages of two and three years old. It keeps my 3 year old busy but is almost becoming a little too easy for him as he gets closer to 4. You can keep it simple by using an ab pattern or make it more complex with an abc pattern.
If you are working with pre-kindergarten students or older children (early elementary kiddos) you can add more dots to the sticks, creating more complex patterns to match. This would make a fun activity for math centers!
Skills This Activity Focuses On
- Critical thinking
- Fine motor skills
- Color matching
- Hand eye coordination
- Color identification
- Pattern recognition
Other Great Learning Activities For Preschoolers
This Clothespin Counting Activity For Preschoolers is an easy way to work on counting skills
How Wee Learn has a great post with lots of ideas for popsicle stick activities for kids
I love these popsicle stick pattern cards from Worksheets Planet to help with shape identification- they have some cards that are more challenging for older kids as well