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What is Tangram and how it teaches your kids math

Have you ever wondered what is a tangram puzzle and how to solve it? We are going to bring you to the origin of the tangram, how to play tangram puzzles, the rules and solutions to solve the wooden tangram puzzle.

Let's explore new fun ways to work with shapes!

Origin of the TANGRAM Story.

The tangram puzzle originated in China and was then brought over to Europe and America via trade ships during early 19 century.

It started to gains popularity during World War I. The tangram puzzle challenges kids to arrange multiples shape pieces, called tans, and form into one shape. A set of tans consists of various triangles sizes, squares, and parallelogram. The shapes made from these pieces can be geometrical, such as a square or triangle, or something more representational such as animals, objects, or people.

There are infinite of different shapes that can be made from these pieces as well as multiple different ways to interact with those shapes.

Benefit of Tangrams

While the benefits of tangram puzzles can be seen in people of varies age, they are most beneficial to young kids. They are a great hands-on activity that can be incorporated into the classroom or at home.

The skillset that tangram puzzles can help to develop:

  • Problem-solving and logical thinking:
  • Creativity mind
  • Hands - eye Motor skill
  • Geometrical shape
  • Spatial relationships
  • Positive relationships with math
  • Fraction


Tangram puzzles help children to learn problem-solving skills and geometrical concepts. For this reason, it is often been used in math classrooms. The tans can be used to educate relationships on basic shapes. An example two triangles can be combined to make a square or a parallelogram, a parallelogram, and two triangles can make a rectangle, and so on.

Tangram puzzles can also be used as an introduction method for kids to the concept of area. Using each tan as a unit of measurement, they can count how many tans it takes to fill different figures. Symmetry, congruence, similarity, and even fractions can be taught through different exercises using the tangram pieces. 

Kids not only learn mathematical concepts through the completion of these puzzles and accompanying exercises, but they also passively develop the problem-solving skills needed to effortlessly figure out the puzzles.


Tangram uses a simple concept to play.

First, you need access to the tans themselves. With the tangram puzzles, kids will start to arrange the tans to match the provided silhouettes or outlines. The tangram rules are just as simple.

  • The pieces must all be connected
  • They must be flat
  • No pieces may overlap
  • The tans may also be rotated and/or flipped to form the shape.
  • All seven tans must be used
  • Each completed puzzle must contain all seven tans.


Firstly, you need to get a physical tangram set.

Next, remember that the combination of two triangles makes a square or a diamond. Two triangles can also be put back to back to create one larger triangle. Next, a way to make a second parallelogram piece available to you is to combine the two small triangles.

A triangle on top of a square, or on top of two combined triangles, make a type of barn shape. The points of two triangles can be connected to make a sort of bow shape.

When working through these puzzles it is important to remember how to create basic shapes out of triangles. When you start thinking of the shapes more in terms of triangles, the puzzles should start getting easier and easier to solve.

Tangram puzzles serve as a solid foundation educational tool for children as well as an endless source of entertainment for people of all ages. It is an excellent way to have fun and strengthen your brain.

This classic game will stay around as one of the most popular puzzles for classroom teaching in the generations to come.