This nature-based fine motor activity for kids combines hands-on nature learning with beginning math and science skills. This activity is perfect for teaching patterns and expanding patterning skills in a variety of age groups.
Creating and recognizing patterns is an early learning skill that becomes vital later in life. Patterns are actually so common, you may not even realize that you use them on a daily basis, such as when telling time and reading similarly spelled words. What better way for kids to practice this crucial life skill, than through fun hands-on learning.
Fine Motor Nature Patterns
- plastic yarn needles
- yarn, any color
- collected nature items (flower petals, leaves, acorn tops, thick blades of grass)
If time allows, begin the activity by having your kids take a short nature hike to collect various items. Softer items will be easier to thread through the needle. Collecting flowers and separating the petals is a great way to collect a large number of patterning items quickly. For many perennials, like daffodils, you can also cut the stems into beads for treading, because they are actually hallow.
Although they are a little tougher, we did have success threading acorn tops, after using a metal skewer to make a small hole in the center. With young children, this step is probably best left to adults.
After the kids have collected their natural materials, they can thread the plastic needle using a long piece of yarn. The more complicated the pattern, the longer your piece of yarn will have to be.
When it comes to creating the patterns, anything goes. Kids can use the nature materials to create any type of pattern imaginable. Younger children may only be able to create simple AB patterns, while older children will be able to string up more complicated creations such as ABB, or AABCC. The possibilities are endless.
As your children’s patterning skills increase over time, you can revisit this activity for more hands-on fun. Happy learning!