Patterning With Pattern Caps

Over the last 5 years, I have opened more squeeze pouch drinks for little ones than I care to remember. One afternoon, after lunch, I looked over at a colorful pile of caps sitting next to my classroom sink. There were 6 just from that day alone! I washed that pile and threw it into a jar. Before I knew it the jar was overflowing, so I raced to put them to use. Behold one of my favorite learning components:

These cute, little, bright things are no longer just pouch tops. They are now Number Bingo markers, graphing devices, one-to-one correspondence utensils, sorting and counting tools..the list goes on and on. I decided to place a container in my math center and label it “pattern caps”.

The pattern caps are one of the most sought after items in the classroom. I don’t know exactly why they are so popular, but I am wondering if it is because the children know where they came from; the tops are familiar to them.

The caps are easy to grasp and place, and they are large and bold enough to aid the child in distinguishing what is a pattern and what is not a pattern. Here they are being used with one of our Pattern Practice worksheets.

Needless to say, these squeezie caps have turned into an educational math manipulative. So next time you are asked to open a pouch, think twice before tossing the top.

Download our free AB Pattern Practice worksheet here.

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Valentine Sensory Bin

There is really nothing quite like a container full of bright, sparkly goodness just waiting to be explored.

Because there are many schools and parents that do not believe in “playing with your food” (using food as learning materials), I worked to find a sensory bin base that was not a food product. I had recently purchased a Beta fish for my classroom and was carousing the fish supply section when I spotted aquarium gravel. As I quickly scanned all the bags of fantastic colors and combinations, well, my head exploded!

MATERIAL USED:

– Any suitable container
Aquarium gravel
– Pom poms
– Heart and XO sequins
– Different colored bottle caps
– Small jewels and gems
– 3D hearts
– Animal print scrapbook hearts
– Heart buttons
– Small chunks of garland
– Pink yarn
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
– Shovels
– Funnel
– Spatula
– Tweezers
– Cups

Not only do sensory bins strengthen the senses, they hold many learning opportunities. Children use their fine motor skills as they scoop, sift, pour, and examine its contents. They develop and cultivate social emotional skills as they play and work together; taking turns with items, and sharing ideas of what to do with them. In the way of math, preschoolers sort and count the many objects. Shape and color knowledge is also gained.



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