Celebrate Chinese New Year with Tangrams!

February 8th is Chinese New Year - The year of the monkey. What better way to celebrate than by delving into tradition by taking on tangrams and solving ancient Chinese puzzles!

This ancient game originated in China and is made up of 7 geometric shapes: 5 isosceles triangles in 3 sizes, 1 square, and 1 parallelogram. The object is to move and rotate these 7 shapes to create a square, rectangle, triangle or countless creative images, like animals, boats, and people. There are a few parameters to follow.

All pieces must:

  • Be used
  • Lay flat
  • Touch
  • Not overlap

The puzzles or designs to recreate using the "tans" are typically printed in an outline form or silhouette, although easier versions provide the exact placement for kids to see and use.

Tangrams are a way for kids and adults to exercise their brains. There are many academic and developmental benefits from this simple puzzle. Visual spatial skills, logical thinking, and problem solving are at the forefront as children flip and rotate pieces to create the desired shape. Creativity is explored, not only by visualizing and recreating designs, but by making unique masterpieces with the seven shapes. And certainly math comes into play here. Tangrams take math from intimidating to entertaining as children are introduced to mathematical concepts like congruency, symmetry, area, perimeter and geometry while solving puzzles and creating pictures.

Tangrams are ideal for intergenerational fun. Spanning kids to grandparents, these mental challenges capture interest and intrigue, and are great for after dinner entertainment while still seated at the table. Make it a cooperative activity with everyone working together to match and solve each puzzle. Or take a page from traditional Chinese storytelling and arrange the tans to identify characters in your story. As the story continues, rearrange the tans to represent new elements in the tale. Or stir up some friendly competition and have a timed race and see who can solve a puzzle the fastest. But make sure you put a barrier up, like standing a binder on end or blocking your work with a box, so others don't learn from your trials and shave time off their own!

So celebrate Chinese New Year by enjoying time together with Tangrams! Check out our full line of Tangrams.