pretzel patterns: learning during snacktime

pretzel patterns learning during snacktimeIt’s been crazy over here for the past few weeks, with nutty, awful weather, with colds and stomach bugs, lots of late meetings, and lots of end-of-season hurrahs.

So our learning has had to be really–really!–sneaky in order to keep my kiddos engaged and interested. And that’s fine by me.

After the kids came home from school and we all finally sat down at the kitchen table for a snack, we got a little pattern happy.

Pattern work is a fun and hands-on math skill that is often overlooked–and it’s something that you can take just about anywhere, any time. Even in the kitchen.

And our family? We love when our learning involves food.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Pretzel Patterns– Learning During Snacktime: Simple. That’s what this was, but it allowed our little Cora to share some of her recent pattern-knowledge at home, at our kitchen table.

It started out really with three kids muching and crunching on pretzel sticks, and it morphed into a chat about pattern making, which is a foundation of Kindergarten math curriculum.

Cora placed several sticks in a row and said, Hey Mom! Look, it’s an AAAB pattern. With pretzel sticks!

I said, Oh my gosh–you’re right.  What other patters have you learned this year? Hmmmm. The ABAB pattern?  Can you make that one with pretzels?

pretzel patterns learning during snacktime

Owen tries hard to make THE most difficult pretzel pattern ever created. . .

pretzel patterns learning during snacktime

. . . but I think there’s nothing wrong with a little ABAB.


She started biting and nibbling (sure she could have broken them, but eating is so much more fun!).  And then she said, YAY! ABAB pattern with pretzels–big-little-big-little-big-little.

At this point, Owen and Maddy were trying to wow us with their crazy patterns–ABCD or AABC or ABBD–like big first graders and third graders can do. But I was really just so thrilled that Cora started this game, so I wanted to have her run with it.

We chatted about simple patterns: ABAB, ABCABC. And we chatted about Maddy and Owen’s more difficult patterns.  And we decided that the only thing a pattern needed was to repeat in an organized way.  

Easy. And so fun.

And before we knew it, pretzels were gone, snacktime was over, homework was being done, kids were getting changed for gymnastics, and we were all in the car, moving onto the very next thing.

pretzel patterns learning during snacktime colors

When Cora needed help with colors, we leaned on the ole pretzel sticks and goldfish: Fishing for Colors. Woot.

And that’s it–just a really quick, super-on-the-fly, way of sneaking in some fun learning–to reinforce school learning–during 10 minutes of snacktime.

It reminded me that we have done a whole lot of learning with food over the years–a whole lot of learning with food.

And you know what? I think that’s pretty cool.

Check out just two of our many, many previous Learning With Food posts if you please:

. . . and if you have other fun ways to practice patterns, or playing with food, please let me know!




  1. says

    Great! Your family is always learning! The pretzels could be used to make tallies that are so difficult for many children in the beginning of first grade, too. A wonderful idea for snack time at school as well as at home. Carolyn

  2. says

    Love the idea of pretzel patterns! So fun and kids LOVE to play with their food! I can’t believe how easily you sneak math into snack time! Wonderful stuff! My kids would love this!


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