Patterns + Math = Fun
Monday, March 9, 2009 at 9:36PM
Cameron Blazer in craft, pattern

Patterns! © 2009 Cameron Blazer

It's well known that I'm a pattern fiend and a craft-a-holic. And my love for Spoonflower, which makes it possible for me to turn my pattern designs into fabric, is similarly well-documented. But much as I would love to upholster my world in technicolor, the family budget doesn't really accommodate that impulse. Still, it seems a shame to let all these designs I've spent so much time working on languish.

My friend Courtney suggested I use them to make a memory match game. Brilliant! I got to thinking: while I am very contentedly the mother of just one little kiddo, lots of my friends have two or more kids under the age of six. I wondered if I could make the game more interesting for the older kids without making it impossible for the younger kids. What I came up with will probably not surprise anyone who knows me well enough to have listened to me prattle on about my quest for an arithmetic formula to reduce all non-zero real numbers to 1*--a mix of memory and arithmetic that I think will work with kids from 2-6.

Numbers game © 2009 Cameron BlazerMatching pairs © 2009 Cameron BlazerOn one side, the cards are printed with pairs of matching patterns, just like in the typical match game. On the other side, each card is printed with one half of a simple arithmetic equation, either 1+n(0-9) or its result (i.e. "1+1" or "2")--that is, the basic arithmetic table for the "ones." For little kids, the math equations will be like Greek, so you can just play the match game with the number sides up as you ordinarily would. With older kids, though, you could set the pattern sides up and use them to teach or test their new math skills. Honestly, the time when I will drill my son on arithmetic tables seems so distant as to be unimaginable, but if and when I do have to do that, I'd like to think that we could make it a little more fun by using this game.

I'm thinking of listing this project as a printable PDF in my Etsy store, but I'm at a loss as to how to price it. I'd love to know your thoughts--commenters will be entered in a drawing to win a printable, reusable PDF of the game; I'll draw 3 names next Monday and send a free PDF to the winners, so be sure to leave your email address when you comment (it is not published with the comment--only I can see it).

* Yes, I know that you can divide any number by itself and get 1. That isn't what I mean. You don't want to know what I mean. Trust me. You could die of boredom if you get me started.

Update on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 5:41AM by Registered CommenterCameron Blazer
Congratulations to Chi Anne, Elise, and Prerna! The random number generator has selected you as the winners! You should be receiving an email shortly with the PDF and instructions for printing. Thanks to everyone for your feedback!
Update on Tuesday, March 31, 2009 at 6:52PM by Registered CommenterCameron Blazer
Well, I took the plunge! I have started offering a printable download of the pattern match game for sale on my new etsy site: print•abilities! Thanks for all the good suggestions and encouragement!
Article originally appeared on Various and Sundry Things (
See website for complete article licensing information.