Pattern Blocks for Toddlers: A parent's review

Pattern Blocks

I love toys that stand the test of time, are well-made and can be use for many years in many different ways. One such toy is pattern blocks. I first learned about pattern blocks when I was a 1st grade teacher. We used them in conjunction with our math curriculum. But pattern blocks aren't only for the school setting. They are a perfect toddler activity and toy that can be used at home too.

Helps children:

* build visual-spatial skills

* increase pattern recognition

* practice shape recognition

* visualize how shapes work together to create new shapes

* master color recognition

* learn beginning math concepts

* practice creativity

There are many different types of pattern blocks. There are :

plastic pattern blocks

fun foam pattern blocks

magnetic pattern blocks

wooden pattern blocks

These sets are also available in different sizes: jumbo, mini, and regular.

The shapes included in the traditional pattern block sets are:

green triangles

orange squares

red trapezoids

blue rhombuses (or rhombi)

tan parallelograms

yellow hexagons


Create color mats that match the pattern block colors. These can easily be made with pieces of fun foam or construction paper. Have the children sort the blocks by color. You don't have to do a color sort of all the colors at once. In fact, for very young children just starting this skill, having around three options for sorting is better.

Have children sort the blocks by shape. I folded a piece of paper and then traced a shape in each section. When sorting make sure to say the shape names (green triangles, orange squares, red trapezoids, blue rhombuses (or rhombi), tan parallelograms and yellow octagons.) Don't expect young children to know these names, but rather work on introducing the terminology to them.

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Pattern blocks are perfect for pretend play. My little girls like to use them when they are playing in their kitchen. My son used to pretend they were obstacles for his cars to go over and through. Yes, allowing children to use the blocks in this free-play manner does result in some lost blocks, but it is worth seeing their imaginations in action.

One day we talked about honey bees and how they make honey combs. We were able to create our own honeycomb using pattern blocks. Go on a nature hike and see if you can spot some patterns in nature. Talk about the shapes you see in those patterns. Then try to build them.

Have students practice tracing with pattern blocks.

Children love to build and stack with pattern blocks. They enjoy building towers and knocking them down.

My children also like to use pattern cards that have simple patterns to build. They feel such a sense of accomplishment when they are able to use the blocks to build an animal or flower. My three year old is just starting to experiment with making her own simple designs with help from my older kids. Pattern blocks willl grow with your children. My older children still love to use them and create intricate patterns and designs.

My toddler's favorite pattern block set - At the moment, at least

Melissa & Doug Beginner Wooden Pattern Blocks Educational Toy With 5 Double-Sided Scenes and 30 Shapes
Melissa & Doug Beginner Wooden Pattern Blocks Educational Toy With 5 Double-Sided Scenes and 30 Shapes

This is an excellent pattern block set to use with young children. The patterns included are do-able and not overwhelming for a toddler/preschooler. The bright colors of the pattern cards and blocks grab the attention of the little ones. The shapes do not match the traditional pattern block colors/ shapes but I think for younger children this set is a perfect introduction into pattern building.

 

Just one reason I love pattern blocks...

There is more than one way to use them! The options are endless.

Parents: Write your own reviews!

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The Best Toys for Toddlers is an online review club open to moms and dads everywhere. Write a review of your toddler's favorite toys. It's free, and you could even earn a royalty for the great articles you create.

More about us: Our goal is to helping parents raise the quality of playtime with their toddlers. It's not just about the newest toy--it's about sneaking education into your kid's playtime. Parents know: Playing is serious business! We're always on the lookout for the best toys for our little tots.

I'd love to hear from you! :) 15 comments

jimmielanley profile image

jimmielanley 6 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

We love pattern blocks. We have the same set you've got (pictured right above). We've had it since K. Now Sprite is in 5th grade! It's still in perfect condition. She still enjoys playing with it, actually.


Mihaela Vrban profile image

Mihaela Vrban 6 years ago from Croatia

I have created some simple patterns from 2 and 3 pieces for my little tot this weekend. We are just starting with this but she had so much fun and I'll make new ones with more pieces! :) Excellent resource and well done Mo!


anonymous 6 years ago

You have given me some more ideas for using our pattern blocks. Thanks for sharing!


eclecticeducati1 profile image

eclecticeducati1 6 years ago

Great lens! I wish I would've started pattern blocks with my children when they were younger. You have some great ideas here!!!


anonymous 6 years ago

These are terrific ideas!


poutine 6 years ago

Great tips here. Should help a lot of parents when crafting with their kids.


MisterJeremy profile image

MisterJeremy 6 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

Pattern blocks are great fun. We use them at home and at my preschool. Thanks for the links to the printable patterns.


jdwheeler profile image

jdwheeler 6 years ago

My wife and I are always looking at learning toys for our 2 year old. Thanks for you time and effort in putting this page together. It shows. Incredible.


evelynsaenz1 profile image

evelynsaenz1 6 years ago from Royalton

I first discovered Pattern Block when taking a course in Teaching Mathematics. I have loved, played with and learned from Pattern Blocks ever since.

Wonderful lens highlighting a wonderfully creative math manipulative.


anonymous 5 years ago

Great article... but the SIX-sided yellow pieces are hexagons rather than octagons. :)


SpellOutloud profile image

SpellOutloud 5 years ago Author

@anonymous: I can't believe I made that mistake and left it so long! Thank you for pointing it out. Yes, I do know the difference between the two--lol.


LilliputStation profile image

LilliputStation 5 years ago

Love your ideas. I'm looking for some "school" activities for my two year old and there are sevral great ones here.


ManyLittleBlessings 5 years ago

Fabulous lens! Just added this as a related lens to my newest lens (which is not showing up quite yet). Thanks for the Squidoo encouragement!


bentonamber 5 years ago


zillermil profile image

zillermil 5 years ago

I love pattern blocks. This is great, thanks!

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