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Heart Shaped Tangrams

What would happen if a tangram was shaped like a circle and not the typical square? Circular shaped tangrams are not official puzzles but it is fun to try to apply the tangram rule to different geometrical shapes. Like the circle tangram, the heart-shaped tangram is in a class all its own since there's little hope of creating any of the traditional shapes that usually fit neatly into a square:

This violation of rules to divide hearts into sections instead of squares injects a wide range of possibilities into the tradition of Tangram Chinese puzzles.

Design a valentine tangram yourself. The challenge is to divide the shape into 7 sections tans or as close to seven pieces as possible.

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Tangram puzzles remind me of the mosaics of Pompei and stained glass window designs. My parents loved to make mosaic designs to rerurface old tables. I remember them both cautioning me to stand back while they broke various colored glass bottles that they had collected from a fun, scavaging day at the old county dump to use as pieces for the table design. I learned glass is very sharp but the rewards of a beautiful mosaic design might is worth the incidental nick or two.

Whimsical and Creative Tangrams

When I created these whimsical, non-traditional tangrams, I'd print each design, cut the pieces out and place the pieces in individually marked envelopes.

These envelopes traveled with me to work, the doctors, dentists offices, on the commute train. Anytime I found a few idle moments, I'd arrange and rearrange these tans to find as many solutions as possible.

It became a sure-fire conversation stearter. I introduced tangram into hospital and dental waiting rooms, at the office, in break rooms and restaurants. People would often watch as I'd try many different angles. Occasionally someone would suggest a move, or declare that the design looked like an animal or bird, etc.

Make Tangram Felt-Board games

  • Find stiff cardboard pieces, about 12" x 12" or larger. Old record album (LP) covers are about the right size and work great for making felt-board play surfaces which children can use to build their own puzzle solutions
  • Completely cover the square cardboard with a sheet of felt - black, dark blue or green colors provide good contrast to display the puzzle pieces. Affix the felt firmly with glue or tape
  • Trace a collection of the various traditional tangram shapes onto different, brightly colored felt or foam sheets.
    Colors to use:
    • Red
    • Yellow
    • Light Green
    • Light Blue
    • Pink
    • Orange
    • White
  • If making multiple boards, separate or divide the tans to give each felt board tangram the same number of shapes and sizes in the various colors
  • Enjoy!

Bring along as travel games to keep the children entertained with educational fun. Share at family get-to-gethers, day care centers and school.

Provide pencils and pads of plain paper so children can keep a diary and re-draw and record the different shapes. Solutions not provided here as the purpose of the tangram puzzle is to encourage creativity.