Left to Right Patterning

Different colored cars on a colored backdrop for kids to play with at day care

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to compare and categorize objects, materials, and events.

Materials Needed:

  • A series of similar objects, such as toy animals, bugs, or cars

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Lay the objects out in a row on the floor, a table, or tray.
  2. Point to the one on the far left and say its name. Move from left to right, pointing to each one and identifying it.
  3. Try creating patterns with items, such as a red car followed by a blue car followed by a red car. Point out this pattern to your child.

Learn More: Patterning activities build foundational math and literacy skills while starting from left to right prepares your child for later reading activities. Pattern natural objects such as seashells, leaves, or stones. Occasionally point out to your child while reading that the words move from top to bottom and left to right.

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Different colored cars on a colored backdrop for kids to play with at day care