Terrapin Resources

Exploring Patterns and Designs

Kinderlogo commands offer a wealth of ideas for patterns and designs. There are many ways to introduce pattern and design. Try some of these ideas before sitting down at the computer.

Clap a rhythm pattern and have the children join with you as soon as they have figured out the pattern. The pattern might be:

   loud—soft—soft, loud—soft—soft,    and so on…


   long—long—short—short—short—short,     and so on…

Make up movement patterns that involve the whole body by touching
   head—shoulders—knees—shoulders,    and so on…

After exploring patterns that involve the children physically, proceed to patterns using three-dimensional objects. (This activity is a good place to start with older children.) Use objects that the children can easily manipulate to form patterns. Wooden building blocks, inch cubes, and wooden beads, as well as everyday materials such as coins and paper clips provide excellent pattern opportunities.

In the beginning, the objects should not vary in color. Let shape and position be the variable factors in the pattern. If different colors are used, there may be confusion in observing the pattern. (Color is introduced in Level 4.)

Usually the children can think of patterns easily. If not, try a few together. Line up some objects in a pattern that the child can continue. For example, coins could be arranged:

   heads—tails—heads—tails,    and so on.

Paper clips could be placed in a pattern of

   horizontal—vertical—horizontal—vertical,    and so on.

When the children can readily form patterns using objects, begin using letters to form patterns, such as A A B A A B A A B. This experience will prepare them for remembering and repeating the letter commands at the computer.

Children can string beads (circles, squares, and triangles) in a pattern of their own design, or copy a pattern invented by the computer. The Level 2 Beads activity allows children to copy, finish, and create patterns on the computer.

Beginning with Pattern and Design

Patterns can be found all around us in the changing of the seasons, the tides, and the times of day. You may notice designs in the structure of a tree, a bicycle wheel, and traffic signals. As you become involved in Kinderlogo, you will become more and more observant of the patterns around you. These observations will begin to take shape on the screen as you and your children create designs that are inspired by, if not exact copies of, these patterns. Ladders, flowers, houses, and other shapes will gradually appear. You can help young children learn to transfer these real patterns and designs to a screen image using common everyday materials.

Block Designs

To help children start thinking about patterns and designs, let them play with colored blocks. (One-inch cubes can be purchased at toy stores.) In the beginning, the children will probably build towering structures and then go on to make flat, one-layer designs.

One-inch squares cut from pieces of colored construction paper provide the same opportunity. Children can paste these squares onto another piece of paper to form designs.

Children may easily come up with ideas, but if they need inspiration, suggest some of these:

letters of the alphabet numerals robots  
vehicles buildings faces  
animals flowers fences  

Graph Paper Art

To extend this transfer to two-dimensional surfaces, give the children large-grid graph paper for drawing activities. They will soon get used to the fact that forming a diagonal line by coloring in boxes joined at the corners creates a ragged, not a smooth, line. This experience helps to explain the fact that the turtle’s angled lines are not perfectly smooth.

Children can draw letters of the alphabet, large squares, triangles, and houses by coloring in the boxes on the graph paper. Don’t be surprised if some of the drawings on graph paper later appear on the computer screen.

Here is graph paper sailboat created by six-year-old Freddie. You will see this same sailboat design in a different form later at Level 4.

After creating graph paper art, the children will be better prepared to understand the movements of the turtle on the computer screen. They will have an awareness of the space on the screen and how to send the turtle in different directions. They will not be concerned that the turtle has not drawn a perfectly smooth diagonal line. These activities are normal parts of a young child’s curriculum and, as you can see, they can be of value in relation to computer use as well.

At Level 4, students can use the Color Grid activity to fill in boxes on the screen.

They can recreate their graph paper art on the computer, so save their work!

Moving On

Explore these beginning ideas with the children, but do not allow them to become bored. Kinderlogo has a lot to offer, so why not move ahead to Level 1. The activities described here are always available. Designed to be beginning computer activities, they also incorporate other goals with which the children can grow.