Clapjoy Wooden Tangram Puzzle for Kids (Learn Words, Animals, Numbers, Alphabets, Colors, Objects & Many More)


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The tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat polygons, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective is to replicate a pattern using all seven pieces without overlap. Include – 7 polygons, 50 flash cards

Like building blocks, tangrams can teach kids about spatial relationships. They may help kids learn geometric terms, and develop stronger problem solving abilities. They might even help children perform better on tests of basic arithmetic.

What are the seven shapes in a tangram? Each tangram puzzle contains the following:

  • 2 large right triangles
  • 1 medium-sized right triangle
  • 2 small right triangles
  • 1 small square
  • 1 parallelogram
  • 50 flash cards

Arranged correctly, these tangram shapes can be fitted together as a large square, rectangle, or triangle. They can also be arranged in a variety of complex shapes, including fanciful ones.

There are many ways to play with tangrams. The simplest way is to let kids create their own complex shapes. But traditionally, tangrams are treated as puzzles.

The player is shown a target shape in outline, so that the “seams” between the composite tans are concealed. Then the player attempts to recreate the shape using the seven pieces.

In essence, it’s an exercise similar to structured block play, where the challenge is to create an exact copy of a structure depicted in a diagram. But there’s a key difference.

In structured block play, the diagram provides you with explicit, visual information about where each piece goes. In a tangram puzzle, you’re left to figure that our for yourself.

The educational benefits of tangrams

When we play with tans, we consider the shapes from a variety of angles and perspectives. How would the shapes look if we stuck them together? Rotated them? Slide them around into different positions?

Experiments suggest that thinking about such things — visualizing the spatial relationships between shapes in your “mind’s eye” — can boost our visual-spatial skills.

Research hints that it can boost arithmetic performance, too. When Yi Ling Cheng and Kelly Mix asked kids, aged 6-8, to perform a series of tangram-like spatial tasks, the practice session seemed to prime the brain for mathematics.

Kids who spent 40 minutes solving shape rotation puzzles performed better on a pencil-and-paper arithmetic test immediately thereafter. Compared to tangram-like activities, crossword puzzle warm-ups had no such effect (Cheng and Mix 2012).

So there is reason to suspect that playing with tangrams has educational benefits, and many educators recommended their use in the classroom (Bohning and Althouse 1997; Krieger 1991; National Council of Teacher’s Mathematics 2003; Clements and Sarama 2014).

In particular, these teachers argue that playing with tangrams may help kids

  • classify shapes
  • develop positive feelings about geometry
  • gain a stronger grasp of spatial relationships
  • develop an understanding of how geometric shapes can be decomposed
  • hone spatial rotation skills
  • acquire a precise vocabulary for manipulating shapes (e.g., “flip,” “rotate”)
  • learn the meaning of congruence

In addition, researchers have argued that tangram play can be an opportunity for kids move away from simplistic (and incorrect) ideas about shapes. Young children, for example, might struggle to explain what features are necessary for a shape to be a square. With guided questioning, a teacher can help kids determine why some attempts to make a square with tangrams are unsuccessful (Nic Mhuirí and Kelly 2021).

Children can also learn new vocabulary to describe the shapes they assemble (e.g., rhombus, trapezoid, hexagon). And Tom Scovo demonstrates how tangrams can help kids calculate areas without formulas. For the details, see his excellent activities using tangrams for kids in grades 4-6.

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Clapjoy Wooden Tangram Puzzle for Kids (Learn Words, Animals, Numbers, Alphabets, Colors, Objects & Many More)

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