I don't think math patterns are a waist of time for children to learn math. I think it's great way to introduce math to younger kids. Here are a couple activities and webites I found:
http://www.kindergarten-lessons.com/kindergarten-pattern-activities.html .....This website gives you tons of activities for children that will teach kids pattern block vocabulary.
http://www.learner.org/teacherslab/math/patterns/ ....Here's another website that talks about the different patterns in math: Logic, Number, and Word.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern ...Here's the wikipedia for patterns.
After doing some research this got me thinking about the worksheets I did in elementary school that were about patterns. I never knew it had anything to do with math until I got older. I just thought is was cool to color in. None of my teachers took the time to explain the shapes and the pattern that they were in. Here's what I'm talking about.... http://geometrip.com/ We used to get these a lot in class during free time or to take home and do for fun. There were only a few times we did them in class as a large group.
I think a great way to teach children math patterns are to use what's around us. I have these pj's that have a polka dot pattern on them. A lot of clothes nowadays have many different patterns on them, especially kids clothes! We can use their outfits to teach them number patterns and shape patterns. I'm going to try this on my little cousins and see how it works.