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Domino Patterns

Age 5 to 7
Challenge Level

Domino Patterns

We love playing with dominoes!
There are so many patterns you can make with the dots on them.

You could ask some questions:
  • how many are there where both ends are the same?
  • can we make lines of the ones that add up to different numbers?
  • what's the longest chain I can make where the ends of two dominoes match?
Once you've got to know all about the dominoes, make some patterns with them on the table or floor. 
What ideas do you have? Send them in - you could describe them in words or take pictures and send them to us. 
If you haven't got any dominoes you could print a set of your own from here. 

Why do this problem?

This activity encourages children to explore the structure of a set of dominoes in their own way and to think about ways of constructing different patterns. Young children may well respond to the colours of the dots - if you want them to focus on number you might choose to print off a black and white version from this print out.


Possible approach

This activity is ideal for a child playing alone or in a pair. Try to resist the temptation to give too much guidance - offer the dominoes and ask the children what they can find out about them. Can they make a pattern from some of them/all of them? Look and listen for responses where children are matching and sorting, and talking about their decisions.

Key questions

  • What do you notice about the dominoes?
  • Tell me about your pattern.
  • Why have you arranged them like that?
  • Which one would go next/on top/by the side of this one? 
  • Are there any more that would go in that line?

Possible extension

Missing Middles and Domino Sorting extend the ideas of pattern. To children who are very confident you might like to offer Domino Sets.


Possible support

Next Domino and Domino Sequences offer ideas about possible patterns.