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Learning Pattern Repeats with Grapat Mandala Pieces

Learning Pattern Repeats with Grapat Mandala Pieces

Last post we gave a brief introduction to Grapat mandala pieces. If you missed it, you can find it here. Grapat mandala loose parts are a wonderful creation for any open-ended play starter with their rainbow colorway and unique shapes. The series is also one of our best sellers!


Today's Activity - Developing repeat pattern identification with young children

Pattern awareness has been described as early algebraic thinking, which involves:

  • noticing mathematical features
  • identifying the relationship between elements
  • observing regularities 

(Blanton et al. cited by Kieran, Pang, Schifter & Ng, 2016). 

We are going to focus on linear repeats in today's activity.  First we started with units of two, staying with the same shape/colorway for now. Let the child complete each line.

 Grapat mandala activity with kids

Grapat mandala preschool activity counting pattern


Next, we keep working with units of two, but this time we mix different shapes and colorways:

Grapat pattern repeat activity with kids


It's time to move forward to the next level. We worked on repeating units of three pieces. This time we stay within the same shape, but bring in different colors:  

Grapat pattern repeat activity with kids


Next, we continue with ABBABB or AABAAB to learn that the same object can show up more than once within a given repeat:

 Grapat mandala activity with kids


How about increasing the elements in each repeat?

Grapat mandala pieces kids activity


Now we practice ABACABAC patterns:

Grapat counting mandala in pattern repeat


After this we tried something more challenging. The given patterns do not end at one repeat. It took a few seconds for my son to realize that he cannot just copy the very beginning of the train lol. He had so much fun!

Grapat pattern repeat with kids 


Try to engage with the child by asking questions like "Why did you pick that one?", "How did you come up with this?", " Can I choose this one instead?" By answering the questions, more thinking is processed and also encourages verbal expression when describing their thinking in their own words. 

I hope this is inspirational to all the parents who love loose parts like we do! The most important thing is --have lots of fun! 



Fine motor skills,

Identifying identical or different combination of element and sequence,

Extending the unit of repeat.   

Make predictions based on observations

Hand-eye coordination


Find Product Links Here -

Grapat mandala sets: Fire, Flower, Orange cone, Honeycomb, Green cone, Tree, Small coin, Raindrop, Egg, Mushroom, Stone.

IKEA Flisat table (external link) Not affiliated.



Kieran, C., Pang, JS., Schifter, D., & Ng, S.F. (2016) Early algebra ICME-13 topical surveys Springer Open.


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