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Pattern Blocks for Toddlers: A parent's review
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.
* 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 blocksfun foam pattern blocksmagnetic pattern blockswooden pattern blocks
These sets are also available in different sizes: jumbo, mini, and regular.
The shapes included in the traditional pattern block sets are:
blue rhombuses (or rhombi)
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.
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.
Pattern Block Resources
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Blocks
If you can't get a set of blocks, your toddler can still have fun with pattern blocks using these printable versions. Print out onto cardstock, laminate and cut. Another way to use this printable would be to create your own magnet pattern blocks. Pri
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Blocks 2
Another printable version for pattern blocks.
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Block Card Patterns
You can find two sets of printable patterns to use with pattern blocks. These would work well with children who have already done several simpler patterns and need a little challenge.
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Block Pattern Cards
42 color and black and white patterns to print. Very cute animal designs. These would be more appropriate for children who have had a little experience building patterns (4yr./5yr.). Younger children could do this with some help. This is a great reso
- Printable Pattern Block Patterns from Confessions of a Homeschooler
There are 8 patterns plus a spot to make your own fun pattern!
- PRINTABLE: Christmas Pattern Blocks - PreKinders
Free printable Christmas pattern block mats to use in your classroom! Great for Pre-K, Preschool, Kindergarten, and First Grade. Pattern blocks teach children about shapes and geometry, as well as develop their visual discrimination skills.
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Block Safari - PreKinders
Pattern Block printables of animals.
- PRINTABLE: Pattern Block Cards and Worksheet
Owl, flag, star, dog and more.
My toddler's favorite pattern block set - At the moment, at least
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.
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