Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homemade Tangram Puzzle Cards

I'm so proud of how neat these homemade Tangram puzzle cards turned out, that I just had to share.  They only took about half an hour to make (maybe less), and my girls (3 years old) absolutely LOVED playing with them all evening.  Can you guess how they were made?

I picked a couple designs (I think I ended up with 9), built them with the tangram pieces face-down directly on the scanner glass of the copier/printer and made a  photocopy of each one (which on my printer involves pressing just one button).  Tangrams are a centuries-old puzzle and there are hundreds of different patterns you can find all over the web.  I have to admit that I had a good time getting a bit of a brain challenge building the designs (in reverse, since it would have to be face-down on the scanner) as fast as I could this morning before the kids woke up.  If you're armed with the designs you want ahead of time, then building them on the scanner and then making a copy doesn't take longer than a couple minutes.  I love how 3-D the resulting pattern cards turned out.  My kids are still little, and I wanted them to be able to see the outlines of the shapes that form the final image, but as my kids get older, I may repeat the process but go over the design with a black marker or darken the image on the copier, so they only see the shape of the final image and have to puzzle through how to orient the pieces themselves.

After printing the pattern card copies, I laminated them and cut them out to the size of index cards (so they can be stored in an index card case as we add to the collection of pattern cards).  The girls were watching a DVD this evening when I asked them if they wanted to do an activity, so of course they said 'no', but after they saw what the activity was, they couldn't resist giving it a try:

The advantage of creating the Tangram pattern cards this way (using the copier) is that the kids can place the pieces right on the templates.  This is especially useful for younger children.

I was originally planning on cutting out tangram pieces from craft foam, when I remembered that I had bought some travel-size magnetic foam tangrams for the girls when we went on a long trip this summer.  They had shown zero interest in the tangrams every time that I took them out, and I'm pretty sure it was because the pattern cards were tiny compared to the pieces so it was hard for them to make the spatial correlation between the model and what they were building.  By adding these real-size cards to the game, they were able to complete the puzzles independently.  They worked hard and stayed concentrated for quite a while until each girl has completed every one of the puzzle cards.  I'd consider that a huge success.  I'll probably be creating new patterns every week to keep things interesting for the kids and then raise the level of difficulty by changing the patterns to solid black so they have to figure out which piece goes where.

UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early math "games" that I created the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for 3-6 year olds, which includes online brain challenge games, printable worksheets, enrichment activities and more!

Please 'like' Learners in Bloom on Facebook for more fun!



  1. Love this! Now if I had a copier I could do the same, i have Tangram pieces lying here :)

  2. This looks like a must try! I would love for you to add this, and any other of your awesome ideas, to my Mom's Library weekly round-up.

    Thanks and be blessed,

  3. I love Tangram, as do my kids.... What a great idea!

    hugs ~ Crystelle

  4. Tangrams are so much for my my kids. We'll have to try this!

  5. OK I now I am a grandmother kinda out of the loop but I have never heard of these. What a great idea and so creative. Just dropping in from the Friendly Friday Blog Hop to follow in as many ways as possible and I am so glad I did:)

    Have a great weekend.

  6. Hi! Congrats! Your Tangram Puzzle Cards are featured at my href="">Super Link Party! :-)
    Come on by, check it out, and gab a button! :-)

  7. What a WONDERFUL activity!! What a fun way to sneak in some math/logic =-)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week,
    Beth =-)

  8. Great idea!!!

    More Tangram puzzle cards at


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