Pick a Pattern


Patterns are all around us – in nature, in our homes, on paper and online. Learn more about patterns and create your own original patterned picture frame.


1. What is a pattern? Describe patterns you see in the classroom. Describe the colors, shapes and repetitions used to create the patterns.

2. Initially, you probably think of patterns as things you see. What other senses can distinguish a pattern? Discuss how patterns create consistency in our environment.

3. Pick two patterns that interest you. What elements make up each of your patterns? What would you do to extend the patterns? Why do you think these patterns appeal to you? Take a few minutes to sketch some original patterns on a piece of scrap paper.

4. Cut a piece of recycled cardboard into the shape of a picture frame. Cover the frame with a piece of aluminum foil so the cardboard on the front of the frame is no longer visible. Using Crystal Effects Window Markers, recreate your original patterns around the border of the frame. You can choose to make a single pattern or use different patterns on each side. Feature a favorite photo in the frame.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Adult Assistance is required for this arts & crafts project.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Patterns aren’t just visual—they can be made through movement and sound. Create a pattern by clapping your hands, stomping your feet or humming.
  • Look at the work of M.C. Escher. He used complex patterns called tessellations in many of his pieces. Learn more about tessellations and Escher’s art. Create your own basic tessellating pattern.
  • Patterns occur in many children’s stories and fairy tales. Think back to your favorite stories. What kind of recurring patterns can you find? Patterns can apply to events, characters or even the rhythm of the words when spoken aloud. Why are these patterns used in the story? Does the author ever break from the pattern? If so, why?
  • Assessment: Patterns can be assessed for correct use of repetitive elements.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Window Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Window Mega Markers
  • Crystal Effects Window Markers
household supplies
  • aluminum foil
  • recycled cardboard



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Math
  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children identify patterns in their classroom, in nature and online.

  • Students discuss how patterns can be visual, auditory or movement-based and analyze the impact of patterns in their environment.

  • Students identify two patterns, then compare and contrast their individual components and describe how to extend the patterns.

  • Children create an original pattern(s) and decorate a picture frame with the design.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards