Monday, June 9, 2014

Pattern Blocks Felt Board

Update: Our Pattern Blocks Felt Board is now available for purchase in our Etsy store!

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Pattern blocks! Who doesn't love pattern blocks? They are still my favorite math manipulative and I have been meaning to make a felt set for quite some time now! My kids have a set of small foam pattern blocks, but they don't use them too often. So sad because they are simply perfect for math and art activities! 

I worked on this project while my kids played at the park in the morning and finished it later that same day. I probably spent about 2 hours total on the project, and that's including the time I spent moving locations around the park. I made 20 of each shape, so 120 pieces for the whole set. (Technically 121 because I made an extra blue rhombus.) If you buy felt sheets, you will only end up using a quarter of the sheet per color/shape. This is an inexpensive craft and if you purchase your felt sheets from Jo-Ann's or Michael's, you'll spent about $.34 on each sheet, making this an under $3 craft project, provided you already have a felt board and scissors on hand. And you'll have plenty of felt to spare for other projects! I used this template (scroll to the bottom for the free printable) for the pattern block shapes. 

The purple felt will be used to make an envelope to store the pieces in. I'll be working on that project tonight! This is a small piece of a bigger project - a math themed quiet book! I'll also be including fractions, math games, our Tetris pieces, puzzles, counting activities, shape and color activities, and lots more! For activities such as this one, I will be making pattern cards. I'll probably print and laminate them, so they fit more easily.

It took about 5-10 minutes to cut out 20 shapes. It's seriously a really quick project! You can either hold the paper shape to the felt and cut around it (quickest method) or you can use a disappearing ink pen to trace around the shape and then cut around it.

I made green triangles, blue rhombus', red trapezoids, yellow hexagons, orange squares and small beige rhombus'. I modeled our set on a traditional set of pattern blocks. These pattern blocks can be used for math and art. The kids can create images using shapes, such as animals, plants, vehicles, or abstract art. We can use them to make patterns, learn fractions, and learn about symmetry, among many other uses for math! Toddlers can use the pattern blocks to match shapes and separate by color and shape.

I presented the felt pattern blocks next to a felt board this morning and Bean immediately ran over and started to create art with them!

She made a sun!

And a puppy person!

You can also use the pattern blocks to make patterns! We just added in a magnetic question mark so they know where to place the next shape in the pattern.

For now 120 pieces is a fairly good amount. They usually don't make huge patterns, regardless of the material they are using. Once they have more practice with the pattern blocks and start getting to the point where they could possibly run out, then I will whip up another batch. 

What was the most fun part about this project? Obviously playing with them and making my own patterns! I couldn't resist... The small rhombus' hadn't been made yet, so my pattern is sadly lacking them. 

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