DIY Patterned Sorting Squares

Whether you use your patterned squares as a sorting task, or for visual stimulation for residents, they will certainly come in handy when working in memory care.

The assorted patterns and vivid colours can be used to connect with residents, and start conversations about a range of topics.

I have used the squares to spark conversation with a resident who used to make quilts.

I have asked residents that used to make their own clothing, to help me decide which pattern I should sew a new dress out of.

I have discussed which patterns may work best for wallpaper in my living room.

If you know a bit about a residents past, you may be able to find a creative way to use the cards to get them to engage in conversation with you.

The cards can be used as a sorting activity or task as well, and this is where I have found them particularly useful.

I ask residents to help me organize the cards while we chat lightly, or I have encouraged high functioning residents, who enjoy a challenge, to see how quickly they can sort the cards. The next time we visit, I may challenge them to improve on their previous time.

There are so many ways to use the cards. Or, another option would be to simply leave them out, and allow the residents to choose for themselves how they would like to use them.

Some residents may instinctively start to organize the cards without prompting, and others may just browse through the pile, admiring the colours and patterns.


There is a good chance, especially if you work in recreation, that you already have these items on hand. For those who do not, I will post links to and


Before you begin, you will want to determine the size you would like your squares to be.

If you will be using a 12″ X 12″ sheet of patterned paper, I recommend dividing your page as described in the images below. This will result in 4 double sided 4″ x 4″ squares per patterned sheet.

Divide sheet into 4″ X 8″ sections.

Once you have cut out your 4″ x 8″ rectangles, you will be folding them in half, making sure that they line up perfectly. (or as close as possible)

Cut along solid lines, then fold along dotted lines.

Next, you will insert the folded squares into the laminating sheets, leaving about 1/4 inch around them, ensuring that the edges seal properly when they go through the laminator.

Laminating sheets can be somewhat pricey, so you will not want to be wasteful. Try to fit as many squares per laminating sheet as possible, while making sure to leave a big enough gap between them for proper sealing.

The reason it is so important to make sure there is a seal around the cards, is that this will allow you to properly sanitize them regularly without risking damage to them.

*A trick that I like to use when laminating several different items on one sheet, is to use a glue stick and gently touch it to the item you will be laminating, before inserting it into the laminating sheet. This will not secure it in place, but it should give it just enough grip to avoid the pieces sliding out of place when you insert them into the laminator. Just be careful not to over do it, because using more than just a touch of the glue, could make it visible after lamination.

Once you have laminated all of the cards, you can trim around them to separate them from the others, again, making sure not to damage the seal.

Now that you have completed all of the steps, you are ready to trial them with the residents.

Good luck!

Related Product Links

Disclosure: Products listed on this page are sold through As an Amazon Associate I will earn a commission from qualifying purchases. Please note that this is at absolutely no additional cost to you, or your organization. Thank you for taking the time to support this blog.

Scotch Thermal Laminator Combo Pack

Colorbok Designer Paper Pad, 12″ x 12″, Wild & Free

Swingline Paper Trimmer

AmazonBasics Letter Size Sheets Laminating Pouches


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