I love this patterning tray from Lakeshore! As of today, it is still available on their site for $9.99. I use it with my table scatter that I got from the Target dollar spot and Dollar Tree. That way, we can use seasonal objects (like leaves, acorns, and pumpkins for fall). We can review vocabulary while working on patterns!
I have been using this tray during my direct instruction time. During this time of day, I have 2 students with me at a time and we are usually working on IEP goals. The activities we do during this time can be some of the most difficult work of my students' day. So, when I need to work 1:1 on a more difficult concept, I set up a pattern for one kid and have him work on that while I work with my other student. Then, we switch.
Right now, I am using this tray to have kids either copy a pattern or extend a pattern. Here is a kid copying a pattern using spiders and bats.
And, here is a kid extending a patterning using ghosts and spiders. My kids still need some prompts to complete these (so these activities aren't too easy for them), but they can still usually complete parts of it on their own while I work with the other student.