Pattern blocks are a toy that can be used for many years in different ways. I first used these when I taught elementary school. They are perfect for the preschool years and up.
Some of the benefits of pattern blocks are;
builds visual spatial skills
helps pattern recognition
beginning math concepts
There are many different types of pattern blocks. They come in plastic, foam, and wood. I own the wood and they have had these over 15 years. They definately hold the test of time.
Some ways to use pattern blocks:
I bought these pattern cards at a teacher store. They are more at a 1st grade and up level.
http://prekinders.com/pattern-blocks/ . Adeline is doing the catapilliar. Also great for fine motor skills