Practice Repeating and Changing Variables


A pattern is formed when an element is repeated many times in the same way. Line printing is an easy way to practice making patterns and to gain a concrete understanding of how to create and change a pattern. Young children seem to have a natural inclination to create order and beauty. They also enjoy learning about and experimenting with formal ways of creating patterns and other kinds of design formations.

Tapa Cloth Paper made from Mulberry Tree Bark, from Indonesia


Ask, What is a pattern?

Listen for multiple answers. A pattern is created when a line or shape or color (or sound) is repeated many times in the same way.

Look for patterns in both the natural and built environment. Look at clothing, fabric, objects. Where do you see a pattern? Identify elements that repeat. Point out specific lines that repeat.

This cloth was woven on a back-strap loom by Margarita Lopez y Lopez from San Antonio Aguas Calientes, Guatamala.

Patterns are everywhere – especially in the exquisite textiles and ceramics of each culture. To explore pattern is to have a window into the world’s rich cultural heritage.

You might try clapping a pattern.



Share & Reflect

As children work on creating and embellishing patterns, their work will reflect their individual styles, approaches, and unique ideas. By observing, sharing explorations, and reflecting on discoveries, new ideas and strategies are generated and all children’s work becomes more complex. This process becomes an authentic format for building a learning community.

Peek at first grade classes as they print patterns

A class of first graders explores pattern and print-making. Notice that each child’s work is different, but that they catch ideas from one another.

Variations & Extensions