These simple pattern blocks are easy to make, and they have been a huge hit with my kids!  There are so many ways to learn and discover with this fun hands-on STEM toy.  Every time we think that we have found all the patterns we find another one!  Make these blocks with wooden cubes, paint, and Sharpies.

Two-in-One DIY Pattern Blocks for STEM Learning and Play

This project started with some inspiration from the printable Infinity Tiles on Babble Dabble Do (check these out – so cool!).  I knew that if I drew lines on the blocks that always traveled through the center of each side, then they would fit together no matter which way you turn the blocks.

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Supplies Needed:

Connect the Line Blocks

First, I painted a bunch of 1 inch wooden blocks white.  I used two packages of 13 each from Michael’s, so 26 total.  A nice round 30 probably would have been even better, although 26 is enough to make some nice designs.

Pattern Blocks

After the paint dried, I marked the center of each cube on each side.  Then I drew lines in purple Sharpie that connect each side to the side adjacent to it.

Pattern Blocks

Each block is a little different!

Pattern Blocks

The first thing to explore is how to turn the blocks to build open or closed shapes.

Pattern Blocks

Connect more of them – this pattern has a closed shape with a larger closed shape around it.

Pattern Blocks

Can you build the longest possible continuous line?  Check out the line in this one!

Pattern Blocks

Black and White Pattern Blocks

After I made the line blocks, I wanted to create a different type of pattern on the opposite side.  I decided to go with black and white triangles.  To make these, I drew a diagonal line across the blocks with a ruler and a pencil.  Then I just colored in one side with a black sharpie.

DIY Pattern Blocks

I wasn’t sure how many different patterns we would be able to create with the black and white blocks, but we have not yet discovered all the possibilities!

You can build with them either flat on the table, or make a tower like this.  The fun part about building vertically is that you can create a pattern on one side, and then look at the other side to see what you created over there.

DIY Pattern Blocks

Here are just some of the patterns we have created:

Two-in-One DIY Pattern Blocks

Have fun exploring!  Need more building ideas?  Here are some of our favorites.

DIY Two-in-One Pattern Blocks

Two-in-One DIY Pattern Building Blocks

7 Comments

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  1. Almost Unschoolers Jul 17, 2016

    I love these type of puzzles - what a great idea for diy!

    Reply
    1. Justine Aug 5, 2016

      Going to attempt these today for my Kindergarten class! I'm so excited! Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
      1. Janet Sep 6, 2016

        I love this idea! How young of a child do you think this would be appropriate for?

        Reply
        1. Sarah Sep 13, 2016

          My four year old enjoys playing with these, but my 7 and 9 year olds actually build patterns with them. I'm not sure if that helps or not! I think you could use them for any age, but ages 6+ would probably get more out of the pattern aspect. My middle schooler even enjoys building the patterns!

          Reply
        2. Cheerymom Mar 1, 2017

          Wow this is awesome ! Thanks for sharing, let me try it out for my son

          Reply
          1. Meagan H Aug 17, 2017

            We had similar b&w blocks growing up, but they included both sides with the b&w triangles and sides that were solid black or white. Expands the pattern possibilities!

            Reply
            1. Rita. Dec 8, 2018

              This is an amazing experience that will occupy school aged children for a long time creating different patterns. An experience well worth the time to create it. Great way exercise children's cognitive minds. THANKS. Rita Abbott. NSW. Sydney..

              Reply
              1. Ellen Lemaster Jun 1, 2019

                My younger brother received a set of wooden blocks similar to these in the 1960's, when he was almost five years old.
                The 25 blocks in his set had four sides of solid colors - red, blue, yellow and white, and two sides with triangles - blue and yellow, and red and white. They came with pattern sheets that you could put on a flat surface that were in the same scale as the blocks, so he could just match the side of the block to the pattern. My mother had finally found the perfect toy for his logical mind (he became a computer programmer as an adult). I was about eight, and my older brother was eleven. We all loved making all sorts of patterns! I wanted to buy or make a set for my granddaughters, so thank you for sharing your ideas. I had never considered using sharpie markers to color them.

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