Paper strip patterning makes a deceptively simple Easter egg craft for preschool and kindergarten children.
On the one hand it's fun and is great for decorating a wall or bulletin board during the Easter season.
On the other hand it's educational, helping children practice color recognition and pattern making. You can also add in some scissor skills practice by letting the kids cut out their own paper strips.
I like to use a full sheet of paper for this (rather than making smaller eggs) as it gives the kids the chance to practice their pattern a bit more with inch-wide paper strips that are easy to work with.
- construction paper, gift wrap or scrapbooking paper in at least two different colors or patterns,
- white printer paper,
- printer (or you can freehand draw your own egg),
- glue stick or white school glue (the glue stick is a bit less messy to work with)
- Print the easter egg template or draw an egg free-hand. If you're working with a group of kids you can make a cardboard template or two that they can take turns tracing onto pieces of white paper.
- Do not cut out the egg yet!
Cut strips of paper (about 1 inch wide) from at least two
different colors or patterns of paper. In all honesty, simple
construction paper works great for this project so don't feel
pressure to use up all of mom's fancy scrapbooking paper!
You could provide the children with pre-cut strips but I find that cutting the strips out is terrific scissor skills practice.
- Arrange the strips across the egg in a pattern. You can
arrange them before you start gluing or just glue away!
The egg we made has four different color strips. In all honesty, this is too complicated a pattern. Stick to two or three colors.
- The important part of the craft is forming the pattern, don't feel like you have to cover up every bit of white paper!
- Let dry.
out the egg shape.
- If you look at the back of the paper, you should be able to see the faint lines of the egg on the back.
- You can even retrace your shape onto the back if you're struggling.
- In my experience, this is the step that I most frequently have to help out with (the girls loved cutting out their own paper strips but struggled to cut out the completed shape - it has layers of paper glued together which makes it harder to cut).
Ways to create your pattern:
- Provide the pattern to the children:
- children learn differently, so the "best" way to provide the
pattern will be different depending on how many children you're
working with and how they learn. My kids tended to like
verbal instructions from mom and dad (but that's a situation of
one on one attention). Groups of children often do better
with a written key and/or partially completed example to look
Verbal instructions: great for colors practice -- the adult or older child calls out the next color in the pattern. The young children pick that color strip from their pile of cut strips and
Pattern Key: Here's what I mean by a "pattern key"
Partially completed example:
- children learn differently, so the "best" way to provide the pattern will be different depending on how many children you're working with and how they learn. My kids tended to like verbal instructions from mom and dad (but that's a situation of one on one attention). Groups of children often do better with a written key and/or partially completed example to look at.
- Allow the children to create their own pattern.
Pattern recognition is an important part of a child's development and they all do it by the time they're preschoolers (though sometimes they don't realize they are). One of the first patterns my daughter Tasha identified was that bedtime comes after supper. Pretty much as soon as she could talk, she'd finish her supper with the statement, "no bed yet", hehe.
Don't be frustrated if your child can't form a pattern with the paper strips or if their pattern is simple (red, blue, red, blue). Different kids develop at different rates and enjoy different types of patterns. There's nothing wrong with that!
Don't worry about correcting them if they do the craft "wrong":
- just file away for future reference that you might want to provide them with and reinforce the idea of patterns a few times in the future before letting them try to make their own again.
- Future patterning practice can be in crafting but can also
be while doing things like playing with Lego together or getting
"Look! Mommy picked a shirt with a pattern. See... it has a blue stripe, then a white stripe, then a blue stripe, then a white stripe."
- If you notice them creating patterns during play time, make
sure you point it out to them. Many children start
creating patterns before they can identify that they're doing
it. Be specific about the pattern you notice.
"Oh! I love the pattern you made with your legos. I see you put together a tower with a blue block, then a yellow block, then a blue block, then a yellow block. Good job! That's a great pattern."
- And remember that red-red-blue red-red-blue counts as a pattern too!
- Close the template window after printing to return to this screen.
- Set page margins to zero if you have trouble fitting the template on one page (FILE, PAGE SETUP or FILE, PRINTER SETUP in most browsers).
If you like, you can make the same type of project with a Cross Template as well.