The tangram is an ancient Chinese geometrical puzzle with seven pieces that fit into a square. The Chinese name for this ancient puzzle is Ch’i ch’iao t’u  which means “Picture Using Seven Pieces.”

In the tangram, seven pieces can be cut out from a square. These pieces include two small triangles, two large triangles, one medium size triangle, one square, and one parallelogram. All the pieces are either right angles, angles of 45 degrees or angles of 135 degrees.  Each piece is called a tan.

These seven pieces can be arranged into many different ways to make a figure. The rule of the puzzle is simple:

  • You must use all seven tans
  • They must lie flat
  • They must touch
  • They must not overlap
Tangrams are beneficial for children as they teach how to play with geometrical shapes. They go a step further by stimulating the brain to figure out how to arrange the tans to form a particular character. The tangram teaches children the concept of angles, symmetry, areas and perimeter.

I found it a very intriguing and brain teasing exercise to arrange these seven figures to form different shapes. I think tangrams can be a fun-filled educational activity for both children and adults.
For further insight into these magical basic shapes, refer to the books mentioned below.

GrandfatherTang's Story / Tompert, Ann
Grandfather tells a story about shape-changing fox fairies who try to best each other until a hunter brings danger to both of them.

Tangram: 330 Puzzles/ Read, Ronald C.
Complete book of tangrams.

Tells the story of three pigs who acquire some magic shapes which they use for various purposes - some smart and some not so smart. Includes a section with related activities.

With its exquisite photographs and richly informative text, this is simply the best, the most unique, and the most in-depth study of the ancient and popular Chinese puzzle game.

Play online Tangram games visit this site:
Find the template and pattern on the following site:

Use the tans to make these magical figures. You will be surprised at the result! 

Swan Tangram

Bat Tangram

Duck Tangram

- Chetna


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