• problem solving
• fine motor
• math manipulatives including small colored blocks, colored links, or colored counters
• books that focus on the concept of patterns including Zoe’s Hat: A Book of Color and Patterns by Sharon Lee Holm and M&M’s Color Pattern by Barbara McGrath
• sharp knife for cutting fruit (for adult use only)
• wooden skewers
• variety of fresh fruit including melon, apples, strawberries, pineapple, banana, and kiwi
• plastic plates, bowls, and forks
• drawing materials including paper, crayons, markers, or colored pencils
Set Up and Prepare
Cut the fruit so that children can easily place it on skewers.
Read one of the recommended books to introduce the concept of pattern. Follow the reading with a discussion to review the concepts presented. Then invite children to create some patterns using different manipulatives like colored blocks, plastic links, or colored counters. Explain that children will next use fruit to do a patterning activity.
Divide children into small groups and have an adult show them the fruits they will be using for the activity. Ask them to name the different kinds of fruit and compare them. Show children the skewers and remind them to be very careful when they handle them. Place three pieces of different fruit onto the skewer and ask what type of fruit would come next to create a patterned fruit kabob.
Give each child a plate, skewer, and plastic fork to use when choosing fruit. Invite them to create their own patterned fruit kabob. After they finish, bring children together to share their patterns. Engage them in a discussion to notice their differences and similarities.
Offer them drawing materials and ask that they re-create their patterns on paper. Save the drawings for a follow-up literacy activity. Now invite everyone to enjoy their fruity creations.
Remember: Provide small plastic gloves for children who may have tactile sensitivity to sticky fruits.
Eating Patterns. Send a copy of the activity for families to do at home. Explain how patterning helps children develop important math skills. Include other suggestions for patterning activities using food items, such as a variety of dried beans, cereals, crackers, or pasta shapes.
Curriculum Connection: LITERACY
Fruit Words. Write the names of the different fruits you used on index cards. Suggest children bring their pattern drawings to the writing area and help them to write the names of the fruits that correspond to those in their drawing. Display their work in the math area.
How Are You Peeling?
by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers
(Scholastic, 1999; $17)
I Eat Fruit!
by Hannah Tofts
(Zero to Ten, 2001; $12)