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Shape Exploration: Preschool Tangrams

We know a lot of KneeBouncers out there love our Shapes Game… so we thought we’d share a fun way to extend shape learning: tangrams!

Playing our shapes game introduces your child to the different shapes and the names of those shapes, which begins to develop their mathematical thinking and is actually early geometry (you know, that thing you hated in high school). While you may not have appreciated the class when you were 14, geometry is really about spatial perception and how we organize spatial relationships. Early geometry skills are pretty critical for itty bitty minds — although there is no need to run out and get a text book or flash cards. Play-based activities like shape scavenger hunts, drawing shapes on paper and pointing out different shapes you see in your own environment will set a great foundation.

Tangrams are a traditional Chinese puzzle made of a square divided into seven pieces (one parallelogram, one square and five triangles) that can be arranged to match particular designs. They are also a fun way to encourage your child to develop their shape identification, geometry skills and creativity. {<– we think that’s key!}

Download the Tangram Template (courtesy of and cut each shape out of a different colored piece of construction paper, cardstock or heavier-weight scrap paper you have lying around. Site down with your child and identify the different shapes.

Together, work to create new shapes (real or imagined!) out of the tangram pieces. Here are a few questions you may want to ask your child:

  • Can you make a rectangle?
  • Can you make a square with the triangles?
  • Can you make an animal out of the shapes?
  • Can you make a monster out of the shapes? What is your monster’s name?
  • Can you build a house out of the shapes? Who lives in that house? What shapes did you use to build the house?

Best part? Just have fun. This activity is all about creating. With a little math on the side.