Sticky situation!

Written by: Claire Hewson
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Take time to make a tactile exploration of number. Claire Hewson suggests using petroleum jelly, flour and glitter to make slimy tracings and repeating patterns which children can identify and compare.



  • Shapes by Nicola Tuxworth (Armadillo Books).
  • Plastic shapes, small plastic or foam shapes, sticky backed plastic, foam sponges, kitchen rolls, shaving foam, compost, children’s tweezers, bun tins.

Have you ever wondered why we encourage young children to explore shapes and patterns? It is because shapes and patterns are everywhere. Children see rectangular buildings, square windows and circular food bowls. They notice patterns in behaviour (for example – every day they get out of bed, get dressed and eat breakfast), printed patterns in the fabric of their clothes, and patterns in rhythms and rhymes.

Register now to get access to more of our great articles.

Thank you for visiting Early Years Educator and making use of our archive of expert features, practical activity ideas and news. Why not register today and the enjoy the following great benefits:

  • Weekly email newsletters, providing you themed activity ideas, topical features and news
  • Unlimited access to news and selected features.
  • Access to 4 free articles per month from our practical database.
Register for free

Already registered? - Sign in here

Keep up to date with Early Years!

Sign up for our newsletter and keep up to date with Early Years education, process and events! We promise we won't spam you!