Home/Resources/Shoe-Shoe Train

Shoe-Shoe Train

Learn about helping young children learn to recognize and continue patterns using the Shoe Shoe Train activity.

Activity 25: Recognizing and continuing patterns


Two pairs of adult shoes (big) and two pairs of child shoes (small)
*Tip: You can also play this game with rolls of paper towels and toilet paper, creating long-short-long-short patterns

Try It Out:

  1. Show your child how to make a shoe-shoe train by placing four shoes in a pattern on the floor: big-small-big-small. Point to each as you say the pattern.
  2. Give your child the remaining shoes and ask him to continue the shoe-shoe train.
  3. Make a new shoe-shoe train with a small-small-big-big pattern.

Making the Most of This Activity:

  1. Try this activity with different types of objects, not only big and small, but long and short, heavy and light, and so on. Ask your child to match the pattern you have created or encourage him to create his own.
  2. The activity also can be done during outdoor play. Try a “clap, jump, clap, jump” pattern with your child. Ask: “What comes next?”


Was your child able to continue the big-small pattern? If not, try sorting the shoes by size (big ones together and small ones together). Sorting is a first step to learning about patterns.


American Institute for Research

Ready for more activities?


Related Resources


We need your support now more than ever to ensure all babies have access to the quality care, services and support they need to thrive.