Patterns are everywhere.

Recognizing patterns is one of the first steps to making sense of our world. From just eight weeks old, infants become aware of visual patterns and discovery continues into adulthood. Our exhibit offers a place to play with both 2-D and 3-D patterns. Pattern Studio is organized by using three kinds of patterns that exist on flat surfaces as a classification system. The “Hall of Mirrors” in the exhibit entrance represents the three kinds of patterns: around-the-point, all-over, and border.

A child standing in front of a kalediscope screen with her arms above her head in a heart shape.

Our newest component in Pattern Studio is an interactive video kaleidoscope that encourages you to turn YOU and your environment into a symmetrical pattern.

A Boyscout standing in front of the mirror looking at his many reflections.

The stips of mirror on the Border Wall are a “border” pattern. Stand with your feet on the footprints and you can see yourself repeating over and over again, stretching out in a row like paper dolls.

What You Learn:

  • Recognize, identify and create patterns
  • Geometric reasoning
  • Symmetry
  • Visual patterns appear in nature, science, art, culture
  • Reflection

Pattern recognition is the ability to recognize order in chaos. Patterns can be found in ideas, words, symbols, numbers, sounds and images. By understanding patterns children are able to make predictions about what should come next.

Three children standing at a circular table spinning tops.

Continue the Fun at Home

Explore tessellations, M.C. Escher and nature’s fractals on our Pattern Studio Pinterest board. Ask open-ended questions when looking at patterns such as “what’s next?” or “Can you make a pattern with these materials?”