Cognitive development is a key component of early learning and one of the best ways for children to learn is through play. An opportunity to turn an educational experience in a game or activity helps support healthy cognitive development. That’s why this pattern activity is a great exercise for memory training. This activity is best for children ages 2-5 and allows children to replicate the pattern they see on the paper strip using colorful cotton balls.
Supplies: Markers, colorful cotton balls, paper, cardboard, glue, and box cutter (for adult use only).
** In this craft, the adult will build the memory board and children will use it.
Step 1: Use a box cutter to cut a hand-sized rectangle out of a piece of cardboard.
Step 2: Create an entry space by cutting a smaller rectangle (about 1.5”x5”) on one half of the cardboard rectangle. This is where children will put their answer.
Step 3: Cut several rectangles (1.5”x5”) out of printer paper. Then use markers to draw a row of random colorful circles – try to do at least six circles and vary the patters on each one. The first strip might show blue, yellow, blue, white, green blue and a different strip might show white, white, white, yellow, blue, pink.
Step 4: Invite the children to pull a strip from the stack and then try to replicate the pattern in the answer key using colorful cotton balls. Once this becomes too easy, you can begin to show the strip for a timed period (10 seconds) before hiding it and asking the children to place the cotton balls based on what they remember of the pattern.
This game has countless possibilities – you can increase the number of colors, change the order, or even invite the children to challenge each other with their own color strips. This simple activity strengthens memory and helps the brain recognize patterns, both functions support cognitive development.
Check out our strengthening families blog for additional brain building activities!