Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pattern Blocks

 Just by looking at the pictures you'll be able to see how long I've had these pictures just sitting around NOT posting about this activity. So, instead of a tank top and leaves on the trees, picture a warm sweatshirt and snow falling outside. This is a perfect activity for winter when it's too cold to go out.
 Pattern blocks have many educational uses, especially for math. I'm not doing that yet, so I will just direct you here to read more about activities that are meant to educate. I just thought they would be fun to play with. They are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased at school supply stores or online at places like amazon.com. They come in various thickness in both plastic and wood. Mine are plastic.
Mine came in a kit that had different cards with patterns to be filled in with blocks. Some are abstract and have just the basic outline of shapes with simple instructions.
Others are more complex like this one. I wasn't sure if my (then) four year old would be able to do it.
He did. And we quickly learned that if the two of them are playing together we either need to put cards like this aside or else get more blocks!
There are also books full of designs (not to scale, but they would get the idea by looking at the pictures). And, there are also kind people on the internet who have created some picture cards that you can print at home. I got mine from here and printed them on cardstock and then put contact paper over it.
 And just like regular blocks, these are also fun to play with by themselves. Sorting, patterns, made up pictures,etc.
I feel like I'm trying to sell these to you, but I promise I'm just letting you know that we think they are great and my kids have had a lot of fun with them.
And as a side note, they are quite portable and a great thing to bring on trips or camping in this case (probably not for in the car though). This set is different than the one above. I bought it at a thrift store and wish I could find more pieces like it. It has half circles and various sizes of triangles and rectangles. You would even make a set of shapes out of paper. 
Originally I thought to get these for my kids because I remembered some black and white cut outs my mom had made me in different shapes. There was a sheet that went with them that had different pictures made out of the shapes, very similar to the cards above or the books I referred to. I couldn't find that exact thing anywhere, I thought this would be very similar.

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