A few weeks back, E and I attending a preschool type class where E was exposed to patterning, probably for the the first time formally. She did not do well, and I felt horrible for not really exposing her to this before. I have had some trouble in my journey as a first-time mom with allowing myself to become complacent and not challenging E enough. But, I am a learn as I go mom, so I gathered some of the foam stickers and sheets I had in the craft room, and I created some patterning activities. These are similar to busy bags, but these particular activities are not easily reusable, so they aren't busy bags in the truest (or best) form.
All of the bags have a similar premise, copy the pattern I already made. Sometimes (like the ones on the left) the pattern is on half of the sheet, and E's job is to copy the pattern with similar types, positions, or colors with the half already created. The one on right is the same idea, but starting with her own foam sheet. It also focuses a little more on the spacial aspects of patterning. In some bags there are exactly the right foam stickers to copy the pattern, in others there are extras.
In the few times we have worked on these bags, E has struggled her way through. She gets really excited when she sees stickers, and just starts peeling the back off. I guide her through the thinking process behind creating the patterns, and try to give her a couple of ways to go about it: 1)look at what is first in the pattern using the standard left to right top to bottom, find the corresponding sticker, then put the sticker in the right spot 2) pick out a sticker, find the matching sticker on the pattern already there, then put the sticker in the right spot). It is a complicated process, and these bags aren't much of a filler activity YET, but I have faith that each time we work on these, E will "get it" more.