Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Old Fashioned Toys-Pattern Blocks

If you haven't heard of, or used, pattern blocks, I want to show you what they are and how they are used.

Pattern blocks come in a set with 6 shapes and each shape is a different color. Some sets have variations in the color which is what we have since we have many sets now, and they are all used together.

The shapes can be fitted together to form patterns. These patterns can be simple as little ones make trucks, people or other things with them, using lots of imagination, of course.

More complex designs can also be made... many times just by accident as a child (or adult!) just starts moving the pieces and experimenting. 

There are hundreds of possibilities... probably even more.

It is also possible to buy cards that have colored patterns on the cards and then the child can put the pattern blocks on the cards to reproduce the pattern.

You can also buy books with patterns that are only black and white and then child puts the correct pattern block on the page(without having the color to help them) and reproduces the pattern.

These can be done at a slower pace or as they get faster, they can be timed, to make it more fun.

In these patterns, you can see the optical illusions that are possible... the cubes that seem to stand out.

My kids enjoyed the structured play with these blocks... using the patterns on paper, but they REALLY enjoyed the free creativity with them while they made their own patterns. 

This pattern is a continuation of the pattern above-not the one right above, but the one before... she added to the existing design above and created one that looked even different.

We have taken these pattern blocks outside for playing with the neighbor kids. The neighbor kids go to public school and always seem to wonder about our homeschool. The funny thing is that they love the simple toys like this even though they have many electronic and modern toys to use. 

We have also brought these out when we have had company and it is surprising how many people have never seen these, but enjoy using them.

Sometimes, my kids like to try some building designs.   :)

This looks like a mosaic. There are many ways to use these blocks for learning. Kids can learn about symmetry in design. They can learn to appreciate the art of their siblings. 

I have used these pattern blocks years ago, to design a simple quilt pattern. It was nice to see and play with the possibilities before I started cutting out fabric and sewing it together. No, this isn't the design I used. :)

We bought our first set of pattern blocks about 20 years ago for about $20.00. At the time, we chose to buy the foam blocks because they were quieter and we had a child with special medical issues and needed the quiet. Those were nice (although some of them ended up with teething marks from the toddlers! :)  

 We have also had plastic blocks and wooden ones. The wood ones are, by far, our favorites, so we sold the others and have added to our original set of 100 blocks or so. I have found them at garage sales and I buy them when I can. We now have a large set and can make lots of designs, even when we have several people using them at the same time.   :) 

We first bought these as they were required for our math curriculum manipulatives... the set offered for the curriculum only had a small amount of these blocks, so we decided to buy a larger set. It was hard to pay that much as money was very tight, but we have not been sorry. It was one of those great purchases. Some of you have parents and grandparents who want ideas of what to buy for your children... this is a great one... especially as a family "toy". Smaller sets would be fun, but a larger set that you can add to is even better.

 These red "arms" almost look braided. There are so many possibilities for using these blocks. I hope I have shown you enough to spark your interest in them.

By the way, I am a mom who doesn't really like battery operated toys or electronic toys much at all. I love the kinds of toys that stimulate my children to think, to experiment, to learn... as they play and have fun. That is why I am so in favor of these blocks.

Yes, as my kids get older, they do use computers and cell phones and other electronics, but I am glad we focused on the simple old fashioned toys the most.

We made all of these designs in the last few weeks as we listened to some Science lectures. What a blessing to have our hands busy and to also learn about Creation and the flood and more. It had been quite a long time since we had these out and we all enjoyed our time.

 Thank you for visiting. If you have used pattern blocks, I would love to hear about it. If you haven't, I would love to hear from you also. I hope you have a great week.  :)


  1. I loved hearing about these! No, we have never seen them before, but I wish I had them when our son was little. Actually, he would enjoy them still, because he loves doing things like this. The designs you and your family created are just beautiful! I totally agree with you...I hate the electronics! I love that song by the Spinney Brothers called "Grandpa's Way Of Life". In it, he says something about "I'd throw my cell phone out the window, and go back to Grandpa's way of life." My sentiments exactly! Thank you for the wonderful introduction to a great product!

    1. It is one "toy" that will probably always remain in our house! :) I do like them and so do most people who see and play with them! I enjoyed hearing that song also... and can sympathize with wanting to throw the cell phone out the window at times! :) Thank you for visiting.

  2. These are wonderful!!! We also do not have many battery operated/ electronic toys. Most of our toys are made of wood :). I have seen patterned blocks before, but I have never known they could make such beautiful art!!! I'll definitely have to put these on my list of things to look for at garage sales this spring!!!

    1. They don't appear very often at garage sales for me... but I sure watch for them. I hope you also find some... they are toys that are worth having. :)

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  4. Beautiful designs!
    I'm hoping to get some pattern blocks for my oldest daughter soon. She's just 2 and she still chews on toys sometimes, so I need larger ones that she can't swallow. Anyway, she loves puzzles and I think she will have fun with these, especially if I make some pattern cards that she can copy initially.

    1. I am glad you are planning to get some of these... I don't think you will be sorry.. they are a favorite here.. for 2 year old and all the way up to adults. The patterns change as their ability changes, but I think these are one of the best toys out there. Thank you for visiting... so nice to see you again. :)