Help Preschoolers learn some basics with this fun patterns game that Jessie is sharing today!
Hi everyone! Jessie here, and it’s great to be posting here on OSSS again. I’m really excited to share this post with you because we’ve had such a great time playing this game. Let me give you a little background of how Pattern Party came about. My three-year-old LOVES to play games. I mean seriously, she would play games just about all day every day if that were an option. When we first introduced her to Candy Land we had no idea that we were starting an absolute addiction.
I know most any kid would respond positively to having work turned into a game, and this is especially true for my kiddo. Results are almost always better when we turn the task into a challenge. So when I decided I wanted to work on patterns with my daughter, it only made sense for me to come up with a game. Pattern Party, inspired by Go Fish, is the product of that brainstorm. Though I designed this game for preschoolers, with some variations (suggested below) it can be a blast for several different ages.
A printable file for the patterns game is included below. I’ve included both a PDF file as well as a Google Doc (in case you want to add a greater variety of colors or create new patterns). In my files, you’ll find 12 game boards and 64 cards.
Before playing, you’ll need to print and cut out the game boards and cards. For ease of use and durability, I printed mine on card stock and laminated them, but this is not essential.
- First, decide how many game boards you would like each player to use. The more game boards in use, the more difficult the game. I found that two game boards each was just about right for my kiddo.
- Lay the game boards in front of you, then deal three cards to each player. *My daughter has a hard time holding all her cards once she gets so many in her hands, so we just prop a book up in front of her. Then when she gets too many she can just lay her cards on the table or floor and still keep them hidden from me.
- Place the rest of the cards in a stack or “draw pile” in the center, face down.
- On her turn, Player One will ask another player if she has a certain card. For example, she might say, “Mom, do you have any red triangles?” If “Mom” does have any red triangles, she’ll give one to Player One. If not, Mom will say “draw.” Player One will then take a card from the draw pile in the center.
- If Player One receives the card she wanted (either from the other player or from the draw pile), she places that card on her game board. It is now “safe” and cannot be stolen. Because she got the card she wanted, Player One now gets another turn.
- If she does not get the card she was asking for, she’ll place the acquired card in her hand with her other cards. She can still use these cards to build her patterns, but they are not “safe” until she has all the cards to complete the pattern in her hand. At this point, play rotates to Player Two, who repeats the steps listed above for Player One.
- Play continues to rotate through all players. *Asking for the same cards each turn may seem repetitive, but I don’t think your littles will mind. Mine doesn’t one bit. The repetition is actually really helpful for her with some of the trickier shapes. Besides, you never know from one turn to the next what card will be drawn.
- The first player to complete all of her patterns wins!
It took my daughter about one round to really figure out how to play, then she was good to go! At her age/skill level, this is the best way for her to play. There are, however, several different variations to make the game simpler or more difficult.
- Make every card you get for your pattern “safe,” whether you got it after asking for it or not.
- Eliminate the whole “steal a card” part. Take turns drawing cards out of the pile until one person completes her pattern.
More Difficult Variations
- Spread game boards out in the middle so they can all be seen. Each player will work on building any pattern(s) she wants from any game board(s). This means players could possibly be working on the same patterns without knowing it, which adds an extra challenge. Play as described above. The first person to complete a pattern wins.
- Make a duplicate set of game boards. Have both players try to build the same patterns as each other.
- Keep game boards hidden from opponents. Players may ask for their own pattern cards, or they may ask for other cards to try to trick/thwart opponents.
- Play with a greater number of game boards.
Pattern Party is such a fun way to work on patterns, shapes, and colors. I may even need to make some new game boards with letters, numbers, etc. After the first time we played, my kiddo told me she wanted to play this game EVERY DAY. I’d call that a win!
Here are the files:
Google Doc- After opening the link below, click File, Download, Microsoft Word. Then you should be able to edit it to create your own patterns.
If you just want to print the game as is, click HERE.
For more fun learning activities, check out these posts on OSSS:
ABC Activities for Your Preschooler
Entertaining Kids Without Electronics – 8 Family Games They Will Love