Pattern Sticks

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In this activity, learners compete to be the first to win twenty counting pieces. First, learners draw patterns on only one side of four craft sticks. Then, learners take turns dropping their Pattern Sticks onto the table and counting the number of sticks that land with the pattern side up. Learners take that number of counting pieces from the center bowl. The first player to earn twenty counting pieces wins! Use this activity to help learners practice counting and consider the role of chance and probability. This activity guide contains sample questions to ask, literary connections, extensions, and alignment to local and national standards.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Types:
Activity, Game, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 4 plain wood craft sticks
  • Markers
  • Counting pieces
  • Bowl


  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Patterns
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Probability
    • Number and Operations

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Games


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Children's Museum of Houston,

Funding Source:

  • ExxonMobil