Tangrams are such a nostalgic toy for me. I remember sitting down for what felt like hours, coming up with all sorts of pictures and patterns using those little shapes.
At the time, I had no idea how much learning was taking place. Problem-solving, spatial awareness, creativity, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, mathematical skills… Tangrams truly are a fabulous educational toy!
There are so many ways to use these little shapes at home or in the classroom. We’ll get into some fun ideas, but first, you can grab your FREE Printable Tangram Puzzles right here:
This printable is part of my preschool program, Play into Kindergarten Readiness. It includes 28 weeks of daily activities to enjoy with your little one, covering all fundamental preschool skills through play! Take a peek right here: https://shop.howweelearn.com/pages/play-into-kindergarten-readiness
How to Make Your Printable Tangram Puzzles
Prep for this activity is super easy. Print a copy of the Tangrams Printable and grab some crayons and a pair of scissors. Done!
Of course, you can keep things really simple when coloring your printable—or get very creative. You could:
- Leave them white. Can’t get much simpler than that!
- Print on colored paper.
- Color each big square a different color, so you end up with four sets.
- Color each shape a different color.
Since Valentine’s Day is coming up, we decided to color the pieces with reds, pinks, purples, and a touch of yellow.
I printed ours on a piece of cardstock, so they were a bit sturdier.
For really young children, I suggest gluing the shapes to cardboard to make them even easier for little hands to maneuver.
Once your shapes are colored (or not!), it’s time to cut them out and get playing.
How to Play and Learn with Tangrams
There are so many fun ways to play and learn with tangrams!
- Make a shape with some tangrams and see if your little one can duplicate it.
- Trace a few simple shapes on a piece of paper. Have your little one use the tangram pieces to fill those shapes.
- Let your little one get creative and make a picture! Can she name the shapes used in her creation?
- Sort the pieces by shape, number of sides, or color.
- Older children can make letters or words with the shapes and see if someone else can read their message
Or give a challenge, such as:
- Can you use two or more pieces to make a square? What about a triangle?
- How many different ways can you make a square with the pieces?
- Choose three pieces. How many different shapes can you make with just those three pieces?
- Can you make a symmetrical picture?
I challenged my children to come up with some Valentine’s Day-themed shapes.
The heart was surprisingly tricky to figure out, but once we started working with the shapes, more and more creations started to emerge as the creativity started to flow—a beautiful flower, a diamond, a dove, a cat (or fox, depending on which child you ask).
With just one page, we were able to come up with so many different creations!
I hope you and your little one enjoy playing with your custom tangrams as much as we did.
You will find activities like this and so much more in Play into Kindergarten Readiness. The preschool curriculum covers all core preschool skills in ONE 20-minute activity a day.
Take a peek right here:
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE DIY Tangrams!