I recently ordered Otto some cube puzzles and when they arrived I realised they were way too advanced for him. I couldn't find any that were simpler so I decided to DIY some! These puzzles are really quick and easy to make. They can be customised to the child's favourite shapes, colours and to their skill level.
I used 12 untreated wooden blocks, they are 5cm cubed. I looked at a lot of different sized blocks but feel these were the best size. If I was in Brisbane I would have looked at Reverse Garbage which usually have heaps of cheap wood off-cuts. Ours were nicely sanded and smooth but this may be an extra step depending on your blocks. I decided to make three puzzles each with four blocks. But if you wanted to make it more difficult you could use more blocks, you could have six or eight blocks in one puzzle. I also used some painters tape, paint brush, pencil and some acrylic paint.
I decided to make a triange, square and circle. I wrapped one long piece of tape around all four blocks to keep them tightly together. Then I used the tape to mark out the square and triange. I traced around a glass with pencil to make the circle.
I already had the painters tape at home, it's so useful. Ours is from here (UK link). I pressed the tape down firmly to get a nice sharp edge.
Once the tape was in place I painted the square and triangle. I painted the circle freehand, trying to say within the pencil outline.
Once the paint was dry I carefully removed the tape, look at those neat edges!
Now they are ready to be used. You could paint shapes on the other sides of the cubes but as Otto is still so young I wanted to keep the puzzles as simple as possible. I keep on thinking about the possibilities, you could paint stripes or large dots or even paint a landscape or animals or flowers.
These are still too advanced for Otto so I'll put them aside for when he is ready, it's good to see his hands here for scale. Aren't these lovely for learning shapes but also visual discrimination.
Other DIYs that I used for inspiration: