Pattern blocks are one of my all-time favorite learning tools for kids! They allow kids to explore colors, shapes, angles, symmetry, balance, and much, much more! I played with these as a kid, and my kids pull our sets out all the time. The 3D sculpture above was one of their more impressive creations, put together by six-year-old Johnny. If you look closely, you will see that he used two different widths of pattern blocks (more on that in a minute), which made the project all the more challenging. I love that he built a very complex, yet still symmetrical, design!
We own both the wooden pattern blocks (affiliate links – thanks for supporting this site!) and the plastic pattern blocks, and love both sets for different reasons. The wooden blocks have a completely flat top and bottom, which makes them perfect to use with contact paper to create sensory wall mosaic art and giant pattern block scenes. The wooden blocks are also thicker, which makes them work better as building blocks – they will easy stand up on their edges, whereas the plastic ones are much trickier to balance. We love having the plastic blocks for messy play – such as combining pattern blocks with play dough – and for projects involving water. We also own a set of basic magnetic pattern blocks, which are fun to play with on the fridge. I told you I love pattern blocks!
Four-year-old Lily built this fish. Like Johnny’s tower, it requires a lot of symmetry as well as a strong understanding of how shapes and angles work together. To both Johnny and Lily, this was an exercise in pure play, but play is the best work children can do, and through these self-led exercises that they have set for themselves they are developing the skills they will need to conquer first mathematics and then engineering as they go through school!
Do you have a favorite educational toy?