It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Quirks and the learning curve

Melissa and Doug pattern blocksNoah tackles the pattern blocks, but quickly becomes frustrated. He understands the basic idea — make a picture using the shapes — but lacks the fine motor control to place the shapes on the unfortunately slick wooden card.

We work together.

It’s interesting to note what kids can and can’t do. Some of this is their stage of life, some of it is quirky to the child. Mostly it’s a mixture of both.

I point to the diagram on the card. “I need a yellow diamond. Can you find me a yellow diamond?”

Yes, he can. Easily. Even though there are also white diamonds in the box, but I know he’s sorting by colour, not shape.

“Find me a green triangle, please.”

He immediately hands me a green triangle. (This is simple because, apart from the diamonds there is only one shape per colour. All the triangles are green. Only the triangles are green. )

“Now I need a green shape.”

I get a green shape. It’s a triangle, as it must be. “Thank you for the green triangle, Noah.”

“Now I need a triangle. Can you find me a triangle?”

Nope. Suddenly, there are no triangles in the box. Hee.

So he knows his colours, but not his shapes. Pretty straightforward. It gets quirkier than that, though.

“Look at the card. We are going to need one, two, three blue squares.” I point to the blue squares, one at a time. “Pass me a blue square, please.”

I get the first blue square.

“Thank you for that blue square.” I place it on the blue square on the card. “Now I need one of these.” I point to the next blue square on the card. “Can you find me one like this, please?”

Nope. Can’t do it. He hands me shapes at random, first a white diamond and then a purple trapezoid, and finally a red hexagon.

“This shape,” pointing to the card, “is blue. It is square. I will need a –” and he plonks the blue square onto the floor beside the card.

He knows blue. He doesn’t know square. More interesting, he cannot yet see a picture of a blue square and find the corresponding square blue tile from the box.

Interesting, I tell you. Isn’t that interesting?

October 29, 2009 - Posted by | Developmental stuff, Noah, quirks and quirkiness | , , , , , , , ,


  1. That is fascinating. I was doing a similar thing (push shapes through corresponding holes) with my daughter yesterday and I could not understand what was going wrong. I’ll try to break it down somewhat. I think she knows some shapes, but no colours, so that would be the opposite of your situation.

    Comment by Mwa | October 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. Yes, very interesting! I find it fascinating to watch how kids make these connections in their ever-growing brains!

    Comment by Rosie_Kate | October 29, 2009 | Reply

  3. It really is fascinating. I keep thinking maybe someday I’ll go back to school for my advanced psychology degree, because the brain (and behavioral development) really does get me going!

    Comment by Candace | October 29, 2009 | Reply

  4. And so I began a career as a special ed teacher. This was me as a teen, even. I want to get inside their brains and find out how they see the world and then interpret the world for them and help them make sense of it and learn. That is so it.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | October 29, 2009 | Reply

  5. We have that toy, and it is annoying, how slippery the cards are. My son had trouble, even though he knows his shapes.

    Comment by lynn | October 30, 2009 | Reply

  6. Really interesting, particularly that he can match the word blue with a blue object, but not see two matching objects. You’d think that would be easier. I also find it very interesting that one day a child has no inkling of how to do something and, not long after, can do it easily.

    Comment by Z | October 31, 2009 | Reply

  7. a book you might enjoy… A Mind at a Time, by Mel Levine

    Comment by Meesha | October 31, 2009 | Reply

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