I have very fond memories of playing with pattern blocks back in elementary school. My friends and I used to spend our entire recess creating elaborate domino puzzles with them to show our classmates when class resumed. So hoping to recreate some of the fun from my youth, one of the first toys I bought after adopting my toddler-age son was a set of wooden pattern blocks.
Pattern blocks are a great tool for teaching many different skills, including colors, shapes, counting, patterns, and symmetry (especially radial symmetry). They also happen to be a useful tool for helping young children learn the letters of the alphabet.
In the next installment of my 101 Ways to Teach the Alphabet Series, I’m sharing how I use pattern blocks to teach the alphabet, along with links to several places where you can download free pattern block printables.
When my daughter was learning the letter D, I printed out a letter ‘D’ pattern block template for her to use. I set it out along with a container of the exact pattern blocks she would need to fill in the letters.
She matched the pattern blocks the container to the shapes on her template to create both an uppercase ‘D’ and a lowercase d’.’
This activity provided her with quite a fine motor challenge. She had to place the blocks very carefully to avoid bumping and moving them out of place.
This can be very frustrating for kids with underdeveloped fine motor skills. However, a tip I’ve heard is to put contact paper over the template with the sticky side facing up. Kids then place their blocks onto the sticky part of the contact paper. This way, once a block is placed it is much less likely to move out of place when bumped.
Here is her completed work.
And here are several places where you can find printable pattern block letter templates:
- Confessions of a Homeschooler has both color and black-and-white versions (we used the colored ones in the pictures above)
- Making Learning Fun
- Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace
More ways to teach to the alphabet
More alphabet posts from Gift of Curiosity:
- Erasing letters with a Q-tip
- Making letters with straws and play dough
- I spy letter hunt
- Letter puzzles
- Montessori sandpaper letters
- Making “alphabet soup”
- Smash the puffy letters
- Mini letter hunt with a magnifying glass
- Letter hopscotch
- Crystallized letters
- Letter hop
- Yarn wrapped letters
- Rainbow letters