Popsicle Stick Patterns


Popsicle Stick Patterns

Here is a fun way to get your kids to practice copying and creating patterns and the best part is that it only requires a few basic supplies. You can tell that our family has just been through a move since one of the items I consider a "basic supply" is packing tape.

You will need:
  • Colored Popsicle sticks
  • Clear packing tape

The first thing I wanted the kids to do was replicate a pattern I made with colored Popsicles sticks. I created a pattern by lining up four colors of sticks. Then I cut a length of packing take and stuck it down the middle of my pattern.
Colored Popsicle sticks pattern

You can see a little better in this photo where I put the tape. The shiny stuff in the middle is the tape.

I then gave the kids a supply of Popsicle sticks and asked them if they could copy the pattern they saw. My three year olds had no trouble doing this.

Child making pattern

My two year old is not as skilled with patterns yet, but she does know her colors. I helped her out by telling her which color came next and she was happy finding the colored stick and placing it in the line.

The kids now wanted to make their own patterns. "A" noticed that she could make a pattern using two yellows and two reds.

"B" got quite interested in creating a yellow and red pattern. She used all the yellow and red Popsicle sticks that weren't already being used by her sisters.

I then put a piece of packing tape over her pattern so she could lift it and move it around.

"B" thought her pattern looked like train tracks so she used a green Popsicle stick as a train. All aboard!

Pattern making with kids

As an extension of this activity you can use the Popsicle sticks to create pictures and designs. "A" started out with a square and added two more sticks to make a house.

She then added even more sticks to create a rocket ship.

I think this whole activity travels quite well too. All you need is a little table space. The taped patterns can fold up easily and be stored in a plastic bag along with your loose Popsicle sticks. You can then pull them out at a restaurant, at Grandmas, etc...


  1. Love this stuff. It's so good for kids in so many ways!

  2. Wow - they have this process down! Love all that concentration and big smiles in the end. Well done girls!

  3. Vicky, this is a wonderful and fun DIY educational tool:) It's so important to bring children back to the basics by taking away the plug-ins and offering the hands-on manipulatives! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. Love it!! We use the colored Popsicle sticks for "stick laying" too. There's a great book which uses stick laying as an introduction to more difficult fine motor tasks called "Primer of Industry" by Austin Craig. It's free on Google Books. Each page is dedicated to pictures with 2 sticks, then 3 sticks, then 4...up to about 10. My son loves replicating the pictures and patterns before changing them to make his own. We haven't even made it to the other sections--tile laying, Tangrams, Sewing and Weaving are some of the others. Just thought I'd throw that out there since this article reminded me of the book! :)

  5. I love this idea. Patterns are so very much fun, and very educational. Pretty much everything in life follows a pattern of some kind. I will have to try this with my grandkids.