13 - 15 Months

Spotting patterns prepares your toddler’s brain for math

The human brain is wired to detect patterns—predictable sequences that occur just about everywhere in life. From the very beginning, newborns recognize simple patterns in the form of “A, then B”: “First I cry, then someone comes to comfort me.” As they get older, they begin to notice that daily routines have patterns.

Patterns are an important element of math. Our number system is based on a repeating pattern of 0 to 9, which children must understand before they can count and eventually learn to add and subtract. Helping your toddler spot patterns in daily life now will help them better understand the patterns in our number system later on.

The stages to learning patterns

Start by pointing out simple A-B combinations, like raspberries and blueberries in an alternating pattern on your toddler’s plate. Next, progress to A-B-B patterns: raspberry, blueberry, blueberry. Eventually, your toddler will be ready for A-B-B-C patterns: raspberry, blueberry, blueberry, strawberry. 

4 ways to help your toddler recognize patterns

  1. Clap along to a beat. Place your hands over your child’s and clap together to a simple song or nursery rhyme, like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Hickory Dickory Dock,” or “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Anytime you listen to music, you can clap along to the beat to draw attention to patterns in the song. 
  2. Create patterns with beads. Hand your toddler the beads from the Threadable Bead Kit in simple patterns. Start with a two-color pattern: green, blue, green, blue. Next, introduce a two-shape pattern (flat ring, cylinder, flat ring, cylinder), followed by a three-color pattern (green, blue, purple, green, blue, purple). Talk to your toddler about how you’re making a beautiful pattern together. 
  3. Say “1, 2, 3…”. Count aloud as you fasten each button on your toddler’s sweater, place chunks of avocado on their plate, or put toys in their bath. Your 1-year-old isn’t ready to count themselves yet, but you can help them recognize the patterns inherent in our number system. 
  4. Point out the patterns in familiar routines. When it’s nearing your toddler’s bedtime, you could say: “It’s 7 p.m., so we need to go upstairs and run your bath. Then, we’ll wash you, put on your pajamas, and read a book. After that, it’s time to sleep.” You can also introduce fun rituals into your normal routines, like saying, “See you later, alligator” at daycare drop off or kissing both of their cheeks when they wake up in the morning. These rituals will be a source of comfort for them if you do them consistently and predictably. 


Team Lovevery Avatar

Team Lovevery

Visit site

Posted in: 13 - 15 Months, 16 - 18 Months, 19 - 21 Months, Math, Cognitive Development, Lovevery App, Child Development

Keep reading