An understanding of patterns and patterning is an important early math skill. This felt pattern puzzle is a simple indoor activity to make at home and have on hand for those moments with toddlers and preschoolers when this is "nothing to do."
Cut up a variety of felt pieces in different colors and shapes. I started with white squares and circles, blue squares and orange circles. I used a plain black piece as a board. (You could attach it to a piece of cardboard for a sturdy playing surface.)
First I demonstrated a pattern and then New Kid repeated the pattern underneath. You can also start a pattern and have the child simply continue it. Once your child gets the hang of it, he can make his own patterns, or simply play around with the shapes in whatever manner he chooses. In addition to teaching pre-math lessons, preschoolers work on their fine motor skills. Win-win.
Felt is inexpensive and I use it for a lot of DIY projects. I adore the color options in this pack: (affiliate links)
More early math activities: