Wow, time flies! I cant believe weve had the Pattern Blocks & Boards for 3-years now, and Im just getting around to reviewing it. This is one of those morphing-type of toys. You know where the toy starts out as one, but transforms into another. Maybe its just my kid, but he prefers to play with this set differently then its intended, and thats what I mean by morphing.
The Pattern Blocks & Boards is an all-wood playset made by Melissa & Doug, formally known as Lights, Camera, Interaction. The set includes a wooden box with lid, 120 tiles, and 5-boards. The boards have patterns painted on the front and back of each board, which equals10-images altogether. There are 6-types of tiles, each with a different shape, and 20 of each: red hexagons, yellow rhombuses, blue squares, white small rhombuses, purple trapezoids, and green triangles. The intent of the toy is to place the tiles on the boards to duplicate the painted images: a train, a fish, a boat, a snail, a rabbit, a flower, a butterfly, a dog, a bird, and a star. The easiest board utilizes only 10-tiles, while the most difficult pattern, the fish, has 20.
The storage box is divided into two: the boards stack on one side while the tiles store in the other. The lid is transparent, and slides open. Beware, as some of the tiles are quite small, and do pose a choking hazard to children under three. The Pattern Blocks & Boards is recommended for children 3-years and up, and is guaranteed non-toxic.
William received this toy for his 3rd birthday, which was over three years ago. I must admit the Pattern Blocks & Boards wasnt a favorite. Lets face it; its a hard for an educational toy to compete with Thomas the Tank Engine. At any rate, this toy did get some attention the first week it came into our house. It also caused frustration though. I didnt know at the time that my son was delayed in fine motor skills. Initially, Id help him pull the boards out of the box, and Id place some of the tiles close by, so he wouldnt have to reach into the box. He understood the concept of the toy, as the shapes on the boards are painted in the same colors as the tile. William would match the colors, yet he had difficulty with the tiles sliding on the boards. He became so aggravated I put the toy away.
The next time the toy came out, I put the boards up, and we started sorting the tiles. Wed discuss the colors, the shapes, and counted the tiles. We also started combining the tiles to make our own designs. This opened up a whole new dimension, and soon became a game. I taught him about tessellations, which is forming a repeating pattern with shapes. In time, he adjusted to the boards, and became quite good at reproducing the patterns. We race each other, and he usually has a board licked in a minute, or two. Now that hes 6, he likes the Pattern Blocks & Boards. He flies through the patterns, and then starts creating his own designs. We recently picked up a more advanced set made by Super Mind, and although its more challenging, its less frustrating, as the boards are made from cardstock rather than wood.
Since we have many Melissa & Doug sets, I like that the lid is clear, so kids can identify the toy. I wish the box had a groove on the board side so it would be easy to grab, and remove the boards from the box. Its a tight fit, and I have noticed William turning the entire contents out on the table, or floor because he struggles with removing the boards. As its completely made from wood, this set is very durable. Also, it amazes me, but we have yet to lose any of the tile pieces. Melissa & Doug currently lists a magnetic version of this toy with a plastic pouch, which may be easier to handle. Overall, the Pattern Blocks & Boards is a well-made, educational toy.
Melissa & Doug
P.O. Box 590, Westport, CT 06881
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Amount Paid (US$): $12.99
Type of Toy: Educational
Age Range of Child: 3 to 5 Years