Fabric Box-Patterns

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2 1/2 - 4 1/2 yrs


An open box containing nine squares of material: three with a polka-dot pattern, three with a check pattern, and three with a striped pattern, (or any highly contrasting pattern).


This is an individual exercise, which may be done on a neutral colored mat on the table or floor. (Note: Work cycle to be observed).


  1. Invite the child to work with the 'fabric patterns'. Show the child where the fabric patterns are located on the shelf. When the child has made the selection of the material, begin with the third step after naming the material for the child.
  2. Indicate the procedure of carrying the material: one hand on each side of the box, with the thumbs on the top and the fingers on the bottom.
  3. Place the box on a rug in the upper left corner.
  4. Say, "I will match fabric patterns."
  5. Remove the top fabric square and place it below the box. Note the pattern of the fabric.
  6. Remove the next square from the box, and place it next to the first fabric square, noting whether it is similar. If similar, leave it to the right of the first square. If different, place the second fabric square below the first fabric square.
  7. Proceed with the remaining squares, matching similar patterns.
  8. When the material has been completed, return the fabric squares one at a time, beginning at the top left  and continuing left to right and top to bottom.
  9. Return the material to the shelf in the manner described in #3.

Control Of Error

Visual disharmony

Points Of Interest

Though the same pattern, it may be large or small, thick or thin, etc. Material of clothing has describable patterns.


  • Development of concentration, order, coordination, and independence.
  • Discern patterns in materials.
  • Development of visual sense of size and shape (pattern).
  • Responds to the sensitive need of order in the child.
  • Development of problem solving techniques.


  1. Proceed as in Presentation 1 through step #4. Remove each fabric square and place it on the rug in mixed order in a horizontal line at the top. Select the fabric square to the left and place it below the empty box. Beginning at the left of the line of fabric squares, select the next fabric square. Place it next to the first fabric square selected, and if it has the same pattern, leave the square where it is. If it does not match, place it below the first fabric square. Select the next fabric, and place it to the right of the first fabric. Proceed in the manner until all fabric patterns have been matched.
  2. Place the matching fabric squares at a rug a distance apart. Continue making matches from rug to rug.
  3. Select a fabric square, and go through the classroom to match the pattern to an object in the environment. Return the pattern and object to the rug.
  4. Remembering the pattern, go through the environment to match the pattern of the fabric square on the rug with a pattern in the classroom.
  5. Cover the patterns. Name the pattern, go through the classroom and, by memory, select an object with a similar pattern.
  6. As a group activity, have a child select a fabric from the box and match it to a child wearing a similar pattern.
  7. Enlarge the selection of patterns to include plaid, paisley, small flowers, checked, etc.
  8. Have the child bring from home material to classify according to pattern.
  9. Expand the patterns to include other materials. For example, patterns in corregated cardboard, metals, plastic.