Teaching Patterns to Young Children

A very simple, inexpensive way to start out teaching young children patterns would be to have three different colors of caps from gallon containers of milk or water.  Have several of each color.  If you don’t have the caps, then cut out circles out of colored cardboard.  Start with a very simple pattern and then make it progressively harder.  Start out demonstrating the whole pattern at first, showing how to duplicate the pattern to make sure the child understands the concept of “pattern.”  Then see if the child can duplicate it.  For example:

  • Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, green, red, green, red, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, blue, blue, red, blue, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, red, blue, red, red, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, blue, green, red, blue, green, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____
  • Red, green, green, blue, red, green, green, blue, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____, ____

As the child masters each level, have more complicated patterns.

Then add in two dimensions of color and shape:

  • red circle, blue square, red circle, blue square
  • red circle, green square, blue triangle, red circle, green square, blue triangle

As the child progresses, make patterns out of stickers (excellent way to make patterns) and other things besides color and shapes. Or you can use game pieces if you have multiple pieces that are the same. You could even use cans of green beans, corn, and tomatoes. Be creative and look around your house.

Teaching Kids to Wash Their Hands

It’s hard to teach kids how to wash their hands correctly. Some want to skip the soap. Some want to just wet their hands and then they’re finished. Having taught school before, I know that some even turn the water on just to make you think they washed their hands, when in fact, they didn’t even get their hands wet!

One thing that really helped to motivate my students to wash correctly were these cute videos. Some would even sing one of the songs while washing their hands.

VIDEOS:

“Wash My Hands Song” | Teach Children Hand Washing, Toddler Learning Video, Baby Song, Nursery Rhyme

Germ Smart – Wash Your Hands  Our students loved this video!

Hand Washing with Soapy the Germinator

Children’s pack Animation – Wash Your Hands (with sign language)

Germs, Germs, Germs

Hand Washing for Kids – Get Rid of Germs Learn How to Wash Your Hands

Germ Smart Kids – How To Wash Your Hands

If your kids are like the ones in my class, they will pick out one or two of the songs that they really like and that will stick with them. Demonstrate to your kids how to wash hands properly while singing part of a song.

Here’s how to wash hands thoroughly. Wet hands and apply soap. Hands need to be washed for at least 15-20 seconds. Rub hands together to clean the top of the hands and in between fingers.  Rub palms together to clean the other side and in between fingers again. Rub finger tips on palms of hand, alternating hands. Then cup your fingers around your thumb to clean, then alternate to the other hand. Rinse well and dry on a towel.

This is such an important skill for our children to learn.  Try to make it fun. Watch the videos, sing songs while washing hands, and maybe have an incentive chart. The chart doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can use a calendar that you already have or you can print a free one online.  You can also draw your own.  The main thing is to have a square for each day. If they do a good job of washing their hands that day then they can get a sticker to put on their chart.  Or you can draw a smiley face or something they can relate to on the daily square. Decide on a reward for a certain number of stickers/happy faces.

Make sure the reward is something they like and remember:

  • Make it fun.
  • Keep it positive.

Set a good example by washing your hands properly. Use your imagination and you might come up with some other fun activities and incentives to add to these. The old saying is true, practice makes perfect. It may take a lot of practice with some but it’s worth the patience it may take. Stay healthy, everyone!!