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In Right Brain Education, children are encouraged to play puzzles activities. These activities help to develop fine motor skills, logic and reasoning, and problem solving skills. The following are some examples of puzzles you can play with your child.
According to Slocum (2003), Chinese tangrams first existed during the Sung dynasty in the form of a banquet table that could be used for playing geometry games. Since then, the educational value of tangrams was realized, and people employed it to teach geometry (Russell & Bologna, 1982) and assess creativity (Domino, 1980).Wong et al. (AERA Open, 2019)
The Tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle. It contains seven geometric pieces called tans – 5 triangles (two large, one medium, and two small), 1 square, and 1 parallelogram.
Tangrams can be played as a puzzle, where the seven pieces are arranged to make a variety of shapes, such as people, animals, letters, etc.
The Benefits of Playing Tangrams
There are a number of studies that link playing tangrams to the development of:
- problem-solving skills
- logical thinking skills
- perceptual reasoning (nonverbal thinking skills)
- visual-spatial awareness (spatial intelligence)
- mathematical concepts such as congruency, symmetry, area, perimeter, and geometry.
The Rules of Tangrams
- All seven tans must be used
- The tans must lay flat
- The tans must touch but not overlap.
- Levels range from easy – where you can place the pieces onto the patterns – to difficult – where only a silhouette of the object is shown and you have to recreate it without a guide.
- Tangrams can also be played creatively by making your own designs.
You can make your own (use my template – which includes a series of simple tangram puzzles to start with) or follow the instructions from Tangram Channel. I will be adding more tangram puzzles of varying difficulties to our printables page so do check it out from time to time. Tangram Channel also provides a wide range of Tangram puzzles of varying difficulties to try.
Tangram sets can also purchased. The following are available from Amazon:
We use Osmo Tangram because the play is intuitive and older children can play on their own. There are multi-levels so they can choose the level of difficulty they are comfortable with.
Magnetic Tangrams sets are great for taking along on trips or playing on the go since they stay in place. It can also be helpful for younger children who have poorer dexterity because the pieces stay put.
- My First Tangrams (iOS)- this is a good one to start with for younger kids.
- Tangrams for Kids (Android)
- Tangram Master (Android)
- Tangram! (iOS)
Although Tangrams are the mainstay puzzle recommended for Right Brain Education practice, there are other puzzles you can play that will also help to develop the same skills. Top of mind are Jigsaw Puzzles (see: Benefits of Playing with Jigsaw Puzzles) – they’re easily accessible everywhere, they are available in varying levels of difficulty levels, and they cover a wide range of topics to attract your child’s attention.
These cube puzzles are another popular puzzle game encouraged for Right Brain home practice:
- Q-bitz (there is also a Junior and Extreme version)
- Pixy Cubes
- Find a Pattern – by Nikitin (this is a German brand that also offers a variety of other interesting puzzle games)
Any puzzle games that encourage the development of fine motor skills, logic and reasoning, and problem solving skills, are fair game. In our search for more puzzle games to play, we found the puzzle games from following brands to be quite good:
- ThinkFun – some of the games we played were Rush Hour, Chocolate Fix, and Solitaire Chess.
- SmartGames – some of our favourites were Chicken Shuffle, Castle Logix, Penguins on Ice, Temple Trap, and Temple Connection.