Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Toy Review Tuesday: Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards

The Melissa & Doug Pattern Blocks & Boards comes with 6 wooden shapes and colors - white diamonds, blue diamonds, yellow hexagons, red trapezoids, green triangles, orange squares - and 10 geometric patterns on wooden boards. The shapes can also be used to create more unique patterns without the pattern boards but for a 2-year old and 4-1/2 year old, it was simpler to start with a ready visual.

Not surprisingly, 2-year old Elizabeth can easily scan the box of mixed shapes to find all the needed pieces by herself. She can finish a pattern mostly by herself, with just a little help to reposition the pieces if they move out of place. They move very easily on the board and it may be frustrating for some.

Matthew's visual scanning abilities aren't as strong as his younger sister's and it doesn't help that he gets distracted easily. It was puzzling to me that he couldn't find the pieces he needed for the pattern he was working on even when I told him what shapes (and colors) he needed. Then I remembered that some activities weren't as overwhelming for Matthew if they were broken down into simpler steps.

To simplify the shape search for him, I had both kids sort all the pieces by shape/ color in separate piles. With all the like pieces together, he could now concentrate on counting how many he needed for the pattern he was completing instead of losing focus when digging through a jumbled pile of shapes.

We like to bring out this toy during queiter times in the day or when waiting for lunch to be ready. Elizabeth enjoys sorting the pieces by color as well as helping Matthew locate the pieces he needs.

Great for promoting mathematical thinking, creativity, visual scanning, shape and color recognition, and in our family, teamwork.


Anna said...

I can't wait to try sorting out the shapes first to see if it helps! I don't kow why I hadn't thought of that!