To solve the mystery posed by a puzzle made of blocks, kids must investigate relationships between shapes and colors. Puzzle blocks help children build thinking skills and are easy for parents to make with paint and stencils. It also makes an easy favor for a baby shower.
Source: Martha Stewart Baby, 2003
Add a heart to one side of a grouping of blocks; then flip them around, and add a star, circle, or flower in different colors to others. As your preschooler rotates and examines the blocks, she'll build associations between color and form. You needn't wait until she's a toddler to make these; starting in infancy, she'll enjoy the look and feel of the pretty wooden cubes.
1 sheet of adhesive drawer liner
4 or more plain wooden blocks
Washable nontoxic tempera paint.
Cut a square out of the drawer liner that is as big as the surface area of the blocks when pushed together.
Use a pencil and a cookie cutter to draw a shape. Poke a hole in the center of the drawing with scissors, and cut the shape out from the middle to make a stencil.
Push blocks together, then affix stencil, sticky side down, to the top, centering the shape. Paint the shape on blocks, using the stencil as a guide. Let dry and repeat on other sides of blocks, using different shapes and colors.