I Am a Clothing Designer


Activity Description

Children will create and match a pattern by designing socks or mittens.


45-60 min.

Key Outcome(s)

Match, extend, or create a repeating pattern.

Materials and Preparation

Prep Time

20 min. 


  • We provide: Socks template’; ‘Mittens template’; ‘Socks examples’; ‘Mittens examples’. Click HERE to download.
  • You find: Pencils; Colouring tools (crayons, pencil crayons, or markers); Scissors. If designing socks: tape. If designing mittens: yarn; hole punch. OPTIONAL: Patterned socks or mittens (or ask children to provide).


  1. Choose whether you would like the children to design socks or mittens. Then print either the ‘Socks template’ or ‘Mittens template’ (one for you and one for each child).
  2. Print either the ‘Socks examples’ or ‘Mittens examples’, in colour if possible (one copy for you).
  3. Gather scissors, pencils, colouring tools, and optional patterned socks or mittens if they were collected.
  4. If making socks: gather tape. If making mittens: gather yarn and a hole punch. Cut strands of yarn that will be stringed through each child’s shirt to connect the mittens.

The Activity

What will we learn?

“Today we will be clothing designers! We will learn to design and make our own clothing. When we’re finished, we’ll show others what we have made!”

What do we know?

  1. "What does a clothing designer do? What kinds of clothes do they design? How do they design them?”
  2. “We’re going to design socks (or mittens)! Let’s look at socks (or mittens) to help us think of ideas to design our own.” Show and discuss the socks (or mittens) collection and ‘Socks examples’ (or ‘Mittens examples’).
  3. “What do you notice about them? How are they the same? How are they different?” Be sure to discuss the patterns, colours, fabrics, textures, and sizes of the socks (or mittens).
  4. Choose one pair of socks (or mittens). “What do you notice about this pair?” (They are both the same.)
  5. “Did you notice that each pair of socks (or mittens) is the same, or identical? They match! That’s called symmetry. What was designed on one sock (or mitten), was also done on the other sock (or mitten).”
  6. “We’re going to create a pattern on our socks (or mittens). What is a pattern?" (A design that repeats.)
  7. “Can you give me an example of a pattern?” Ask them to point or to verbally give an example as you draw it.

Watch me first!

  1. “Before you start designing, I’m going to show you how I’ll design a pair of socks (or mittens) for myself.”
  2. Show the children a ‘Socks template’ (or ‘Mittens template’). “I’m going to make a pattern on my socks (or mittens). I can make a pattern with stripes, dots, or shapes. I’ll make a dot pattern! I need to remember that the pattern I make on one sock (or mitten), I also need to repeat on my other sock (or mitten).”
  3. “I would like my dots to be green and purple. How can I make a dot pattern with these colours?” Decide on a pattern idea as a class and then model making the pattern on one sock or mitten (e.g., green dot, purple dot, green dot, and so on). Model how to repeat the same pattern on your second sock or mitten.
  4. “Now let’s talk about what pattern you would like to make on your socks (or mittens)!”
  5. “Later, once we have our socks (or mittens) designed, we’ll show them at our Designers’ Showcase!”

Let's try it!

  1. "Now it’s time to design your socks (or mittens)! Remember to design a pattern on one sock (or mitten) and then repeat the same pattern on the other sock (or mitten).”
  2. As the children finish their designs, provide them with scissors and ask them to prepare their socks or mittens for the Designers’ Showcase by cutting them out of their template paper.
  3. If the children designed socks, tape each one to his or her corresponding pant leg (or actual leg).
  4. If the children designed mittens, use a hole punch to punch a hole in the cuff of each mitten. Give each child a long strand of yarn and ask them to string it through their shirt sleeves so only the yarn ends come out of the their shirts over their hands. For each child, take the right yarn end and string it through the hole of the right mitten and tie a knot to secure. Repeat with the left yarn end and left mitten. Alternatively, their strand of mittens could be draped around their neck instead of through their sleeves.

What did we learn?

  • “All of you have designed wonderful patterns on your socks (or mittens). Now it’s time to show your designs!”
  • "At a real design show, the clothes are described to the audience. When I show my socks (or mittens), I’ll say, “These socks (or mittens) have a dot pattern. The green dot and purple dot pattern repeats itself. I designed these beautiful socks (or mittens) because I really like these colours and I love polka dots!”
  • “Think about how you will describe your pattern design and what you will say about your socks (or mittens).”


To make this activity MORE challenging:

  • Ask the children to design more than one simple pattern on their socks or mittens (e.g., dots on one part of the socks or mittens and stripes on another part).
  • Ask the children to design more complex pattern sequences (e.g., a repeating pattern with a circle, a diamond, and a square; a repeating pattern of a row of red dots, then a row of blue dots, then a row of red dots, and so on).

To make this activity LESS challenging:

  • Print the provided ‘Patterned socks templates’ or ‘Patterned mittens templates’ to help children start a pattern. Encourage them to complete the pattern by colouring the stripes or shapes in two alternating colours.
  • Help the child make one choice at a time. For example: “Do you want your socks (or mittens) to have a dot or heart pattern?”; “What colour stripes would you like them to have?” Use visual examples, if possible.
  • Use the provided ‘Visual colour cues’ and ‘Visual pattern cues’ (or a communication board or device) to assist the child to describe his or her socks or mittens (e.g., “My socks have red stripes and blue stripes.”).