Activities | Exploring Patterns


Patterns, they’re everywhere. On clothes and furniture, in books, jewellery, in architecture and nature and many more. When it comes to learning about them it all falls under a maths umbrella. Let’s have a look at some fun ways to introduce patterns to your children or charges.

Rolling pin patterns

You need:

  • 1 rolling pin
  • 3/4 toilet roll middles and 2 kitchen roll middles
  • Lots of foam shapes of your choice. (Stars, circles, squares and zigzags were my choice)
  • Glue and sticky tape
  • Paper
  • Paints

Take your rolling pin and see if the rolls are wide enough to slot over the top of your rolling pin. If not you will have to cut the roll and make an extra insert from another roll using the tape to make it fit. Glue your shapes to the rolls in a particular pattern; horizontal, vertical, diagonal, repeated.


Paint your shapes, again in a colour pattern and then roll your rolling pin over the paper to reveal your pattern. Use each roll to create a different pattern and have fun exploring with pattern and colour!

imageCreate artwork out of this, make your own wrapping paper and don’t forget, you can change your shapes into themed objects for ; Christmas, Halloween, summer theme, winter theme.

Animal print patterns

Where to start?! So many animals have wonderful patterns on them I decided to have an arty afternoon with my charges exploring a few animal patterns, using a range of different medias. 


Leopards spots – we used the top of Lego bricks to make these patterns
Giraffe – I think these handprints give a brilliant pattern effect.
Crocodile – the scales were simply drawn on, practising our pen control.
Lion – using pieces of string we attempted to stick the two different colours in a particular pattern. Not so sure the pattern worked out, but the effect is great!

You could also try these (Click on the animal word to download our pdf template to print out.)

Peacock– with the main peacock shape cut out in coloured card paint on the body in the centre. Using a paintbrush paint green stripes in a fan pattern to show the stems of the feathers. Then using yellow, orange, (metallic) light blue and (metallic) dark blue card cut out egg shapes. In sets of these four colours with orange being slightly smaller than yellow. Light blue being half the size of orange and dark blue slightly smaller again. Make each set into a pattern that decreases in size before transferring them onto the peacock. Watch this pattern come alive.

Butterfly– Use coffee filters to make these. Cut off the correlated edge so the filter opens up. Draw with felt tip pens your butterfly design or particular pattern using a series of colours. Using a wet paintbrush, paint over the colours so they bleed together. Once dry, fold in half and use a clothes peg of pipe cleaner to make the body.

Fish – use old wrapping paper scraps or used pieces of patterned or metallic card to make lots of circles the size of a 2p. Decide on your pattern and layer the circles across the fish to reveal beautiful scales.

We hope you have fun making as many patterns as we have! We’d love to see how your patterns and any new patterns you’ve made that maybe you’d like to share with us. Leave us a comment below, tweet us, email us, get involved!

© pocketnannies 2016


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