Monday, August 6, 2012

Make It Monday: Tangram Creations

If there's one thing that my kids like best, it's building. They love creating with their hands anything that their minds can imagine. In a room full of toys, they will gravitate toward Legos, Trios, blocks, Automoblox, K'nex, Magnetix, a stack of cups, a pile of rubber bands, or a bunch of cardboard boxes. Every single time.

I recently won a bag of 250 tangram wooden blocks from Homeschool Mosaics, a large group of  wonderful women that have joined together to offer support to other homeschooling families. My kids were ecstatic when the box arrived. They had no idea what was inside, but they know that box mail is always fun! We opened it up and dived right in.

There are many sites where you can find tangram templates to print. Some (like this set that we own) have each specific shape shown and you just have to match the correct blocks to the picture. Others have a solid black shape and you have to figure out which blocks are needed to construct it. Instead of having them recreate those predetermined pictures, I allowed their inventive minds to have free reign of the blocks.

We had so much fun creating 2-dimensional pictures. Can you find the snake and the rocket? How about the fishy?

 We also made some 3-D formations, like this pizza. Blue mushrooms, anyone?

Then, Zac and I used the blocks to practice pattern matching. I set the arrangement in the first line, and he copied it in the second.

The older kids and I worked on a little geometry. They were amazed to see how to make hexagons using different shapes.

While the tangram puzzles are fun and educational (you can also use these to teach little ones colors and shapes), the blocks themselves can be used for far more things. If you don't already own some, I suggest you pick up a set. Soon.   

And then let your kids just have fun building.

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