For nearly a year I had a basket in my pantry and tossed used plastic bottle caps into it. I wasn’t sure exactly how I’d use them, but I was sure they would be handy for some sort of project.

Our plastic bottle cap collection is currently very handy for teaching patterns. My goal is that my children will be able to recognize, extend, copy and create patterns.

To start this lesson, I displayed on the table a standard ABAB pattern:


I first had my child recognize the pattern and “read” it to me (big orange, small blue, big orange, small blue). Then I gave instructions to extend the pattern:


We started again with a new pattern:


After recognizing and continuing the pattern, my child then had an opportunity to copy the pattern:


Next we moved on to creating patterns. I gave my child some bottle caps:


It was fun to see their pattern of choice:


Creating patterns turned out to be a fun activity, and kept my little one busy for quite a while: