Anyway, in this case the idea is a picture of a product from "Montessori n such".
"Montessori n such" is an online store and they were selling pattern cards for copying patterns in a sand box. You can find them on sale here for $18.50. Bear in mind this is just for the pattern cards - the sand box itself is sold separately.
I know from past experience with A that many younger children who don't like using pencils and paper to make meaningful marks can often be tempted by different textured drawing materials so I decided to recycle an old baking tray in lieu of a no-expense-spared sand tray and used a standard word processing program (in my case the FREE Open Office) to produce some simple printouts that can be popped in page protectors or laminated. Of course we can also add geometric shapes, numbers and letters to the ideas of patterns to copy as well. The important thing to note is that the patterns are intended to be followed left to right (as in normal letter formation) so each pattern should have a start point marked as in the original product.
In place of play sand in the tray you can use salt, sugar or flour. A darker tray works better as it gives a better contrast.
Here is a picture of our cheap-skate version of the original in use.
All in all it was a great success. Although B did follow the parallel lines in the pattern he did more than the two on the sheet, still this bodes well for the future. Who needs to spend over $35 for a tray and pattern cards!