Making patterns with toy cars is a simple math activity to do with preschoolers. Combine it with a fun book for a fantastic transportation themed activity!
Benefits of Playing with Toy Cars
Learning about patterns and making patterns with colored objects is a great way to introduce this early math skill to young learners. It is also a good opportunity to review and reinforce color recognition. Playing and making patterns with toy cars is sure to interest any little car or truck enthusiast!
Recognizing and understanding patterns are strong foundations for understanding time concepts (routines, telling time) and number concepts (skip counting, algebraic thinking, multiplication). Completing and making patterns helps develop problem-solving skills. Seeing those patterns helps children develop visual discrimination skills (noticing similarities and differences) and even contributes to appreciating art and aesthetics.
Prepare the Activity
- collection of toy cars in three different colors
- the book Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom by Stuart J. Murphy
To prepare this activity, collect three to six toy cars in three different colors. Have a minimum of nine toy cars total. Set out the cars with the book as an invitation to play.
Once your child or a group of classroom children become interested in this fun invitation to play you can begin reading the book. While you read the book, allow the children to play with and explore patterns on their own with the toy cars.
When you have finished reading the book, you can start showing the children how to make patterns with the different colored toy cars. Encourage the children to make their own patterns with the toy cars.
If there is a child who is reluctant or unsure of how to make a pattern, you can help them by creating a simple pattern using the toy cars but leaving one spot empty. Give that child options to choose from and encourage him or her to fill the empty space with the correct colored car.
For example, in the above photo I created a simple yellow, red, yellow, red pattern using the toy cars, but I left one space empty. Then I set out a blue, red, and yellow car and asked my son to complete the pattern by choosing the correct car.
Older children may enjoy patterning the vehicles using other attributes such as vehicle type or number of doors etc.
Learning about patterns using toy cars is a great hands-on activity that your car and truck loving preschoolers will really have fun with! Combined with a math related picture book this is a wonderful well-rounded activity!
BIO: Samantha writes at Stir the Wonder, sharing creative, hands-on learning activities for preschoolers including fine motor, STEM, and book-inspired activities. She is also a co-author of the book 99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.