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16 Reasons (Benefits) Why Your Kids Should Play Tangram Puzzles

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

kids playing with puzzle doing tangram
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If you want your kids to build essential STEAM skills, Tangrams are an excellent tool to use. In addition to teaching kids spatial relationships and geometric terms, this simple puzzle enhances their problem-solving abilities and promotes brain development. Besides, they may help children improve their mathematical abilities.

Tangram is a fun activity to do with your family and friends and bring everyone together. It is amazing how children don’t even realize how much they learn when playing games such as Tangrams. So this puzzle is an excellent parenting tool because it incorporates learning experiences into fun and engaging activities. 

Playing with tangrams is an excellent opportunity for your children to do their homework while having fun. Besides, it is a super affordable and accessible toy.

The use of tangrams generates ideas and gets you thinking about strategy. The skills they develop are based on Chinese teachings and are used in daycares, schools, and study groups. 

In addition, there are official Tangram sets available online and in retail stores. Usually, these sets are made of wood and come in a variety of fun, bright colors. During fun and interactive play with tangrams, children learn to anticipate where shapes will go to complete a puzzle.

These are 16 ways tangrams influence children’s intelligence:

1. Teaches spatial relationships.

Many tasks require spatial intelligence, but this skill is often overlooked. Spatial intelligence is “the ability to generate, retain, retrieve, and transform well-structured visual images” (Lohman 1996). 

For example, when a child plays with tangrams, they will be looking at the pieces from various angles and perspectives. They will rotate, slide, flip, and turn the pieces around to create other objects.

2. It is a powerful tool to tackle math anxiety.

Teachers often use tangrams to teach foundational math skills because this puzzle reduces the anxiety that numbers can cause in a child. Math anxiety can block children’s ability to learn and overcome challenges. It leads to low grades, poor self-esteem, and mental health issues. 

Using tangrams to teach math is a way to make the learning process fun. With the help of the smaller pieces, your child will learn about symmetry, spatial awareness, and geometry when moving the parts around.

3. Encourages kids to imagine their own designs.

Even though there are countless tangram puzzle combinations, allowing your children to explore the seven shapes that make up the perfect square and encouraging them to create their designs and solutions will enable them to develop their strategies. You’ll also be nurturing their artistic side, and who knows, maybe your kids will invent a new design or combination.

4. Kids learn to recognize geometric shapes.

Tangram has seven geometric shapes: five triangles, one square, and one parallelogram. While kids play with these shapes, they will notice the differences between them and learn their names. 

They will also see that sometimes two figures can form another; for example, two isosceles triangles can form a square. These concepts are better learned playfully because the child gets to see the shape, composition, and parts of the material.

5. Builds fine motor skills.

Although teachers use tangrams mainly to teach math and geometry, you can also use them with children to develop creativity, motor skills, and logical reasoning. For example, when you teach kids to create their own tangram puzzle out of paper, they will need other skills to be able to paint and cut the shapes. 

kid hands playing bright wooden tangram toy
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6. Teaches them about decomposing geometric shapes.

The tangram pieces come assembled into a perfect square. As kids start to pull them apart, they see how large squares decompose into small parts and recomposed into new shapes. They will build other figures and establish relationships between the forms.

7. Encourage children to discover things on their own.

Tangrams require kids to solve problems as they manipulate the tans to create new objects. By allowing kids to explore this exercise freely, they will develop their own ways of doing things. As a result, they will build confidence and gain more independence.

8. You can increase the difficulty level as your child progresses.

There are several books out there with tangram puzzle patterns. The easier ones show each tan outlined and forming simple objects. As for the more difficult ones, only show the object’s silhouette, and it’s up to the kids to place the tans correctly.

9. Builds teamwork and teaches cooperation.

Tangrams are a great way to foster teamwork. Give kids a silhouette and let them figure out where to place the tans. As they start to find challenges, the group will cooperate and contribute with insights to find the right solutions for their task.

10. Soothes children.

Having kids play with tangrams can have a soothing effect. If you have an active child, you might find it an excellent way to transition from stimulating play outside to calmer activities without the hassle of dealing with a child that has too much energy to let out. They will still be playing while winding down and realizing it’s time to focus on something else.

11. Provides screen-free bonding time.

If you need to get your kid out of their digital gadgets, tangrams can help you. They are the perfect way to spend time with your child without a screen. They facilitate communication between you and your child as you both work through the puzzle. Besides offering hours of fun, this activity creates the possibility of meaningful interactions with your child. 

12. It’s the best tool to teach the meaning of congruence.

The geometry concept of congruency refers to two figures or objects that share the same shape, size, or that have the same shape and size as their mirrored image. For example, you can use the two small and two large triangles, which are congruent, to teach this concept. 

13. Boosts critical thinking and perceptual reasoning.

Children learn to be inventive as they work on figuring out different ways to make different shapes. By practicing more often, they will move on to more complicated configurations. As they put new forms together, they will start wondering if the tans will fit or if it needs to be moved. 

Through this process, they are reasoning and making clear decisions based on prior experience. Consequently, they improve their ability to think critically.

14. Changes the perception that math is boring.

It can be frustrating for you and your child to learn math traditionally. The great thing about tangrams is that they teach children several mathematical concepts while making learning fun. Your child will be encouraged to not associate learning math with being an obligation. Instead, this will instill in them a desire to learn more advanced math.

girl practising math
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15. Builds visual memory and perception.

A lot of parents are interested in finding ways to improve the visual memory of their children. Children benefit significantly from it in terms of cognitive development and comprehension. Colors, shapes, symbols, letters, words, sentences, and recent experiences can all be identified and produced with visual memory. 

Playing with tangrams requires children to observe the template and then replicate it. Thus, it contributes to the development of visual memory.

16. Improves attention and concentration.

While playing with tangrams, kids need to study the pieces and focus on forming another object. Because of this, they must be diligent and not let distractions stand in the way, or they will not place the shapes correctly.

In short

Tangram puzzles are among the most valuable educational tools for children and serve as a great source of entertainment for everyone. It’s fun and good for the brain at the same time. Tangrams are an excellent tool for teaching young children, and many websites offer lesson plans and activities. We are confident that this classic game will remain a popular choice for classroom teaching.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.