What are Pattern Blocks?
Pattern blocks are a staple in most early childhood classrooms. Usually made of wood or thick plastic, brightly colored pattern blocks are able to withstand even the most eager learners. One of the best things about these blocks is that all the sides are equally matched, with the exception of the trapezoid which has one side that is double the length of all the other sides. This allows students to easily match up the sides and begin to see the relationships between the sizes of each piece.
- yellow hexagon (1 whole)
- red trapezoid (1/2)
- blue parallelogram (1/3)
- green triangle (1/6) << think Trivial Pursuit pieces!
- orange square
- tan/clear rhombus
The Importance of Pattern Blocks in Preschool
Pattern blocks are so much more than a toy! Given the proportions of the blocks themselves, they are ideal for children to learn many early math skills, but they don’t have to be contained in math alone. Pattern blocks activities include challenging students to create numbers, letters, and even imaginative pictures using the blocks. The possibilities really are endless.
Build Early Math Skills with Pattern Blocks Activities
Building a solid foundation for mathematical knowledge starts from a very young age. Children learn how to count and compare naturally as they grow. (“She has MORE than me!” / “I have THREE cookies!” / “That’s not fair…his piece of cake is bigger than mine!”) Pattern blocks allow students’ natural curiosity to grow as they explore shapes, fractions, size, patterns, spatial awareness, and more.
A favorite math center comes from Constructive Playthings. Equipped with a storage unit on the back, a solid woodworking surface, a whiteboard display, and two stools, it is the perfect place to work with pattern blocks. These wooden work mats come from Melissa & Doug and are a favorite among the students. Children can select a mat, then match the shapes shown to the blocks to create a variety of pictures.
On a Flat Surface
Simple doesn’t have to be boring! Place the pattern cards on a table with the pattern blocks in the center. Invite children to select a card and create the pattern, letter, shape, or picture shown.
On a Vertical Surface
Add magnets to the back of the blocks and use them on a magnet board. Working on a vertical surface helps develop both fine and gross motor skills. And it is the perfect way to engage those students who have trouble sitting still while learning.
Find free pattern block templates from PreKinders!
Larger Sized Blocks
Try giant magnetic pattern blocks on a whiteboard. Challenge students to match shapes and colors on a different scale. There is just something fun about when things are presented in a larger format!
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