The Benefits of Tangrams for Children

In today's article, we want to talk about the benefits of tangrams. This educational tool helps promote creativity and imagination in children and adults alike.
The Benefits of Tangrams for Children
Marta Crespo Garcia

Written and verified by the pedagogue Marta Crespo Garcia.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

A tangram is an activity that goes back over a thousand years to ancient China. According to experts, it arrived in Europe for the first time in the 19th century. The benefits of tangrams are numerous, including the learning of mathematics, and the development of intellectual capabilities. What’s more, they also boost the development of imagination and creativity.


Tangrams are an excellent educational game that develops creativity and imagination in children and adults alike. They consist of seven geometrical pieces known as tans: Five triangles (three different sizes), a square, and a parallelogram. Together, these several pieces form a square.

By combining these pieces, with the use of a little imagination, you can create infinite geometric figures. All you need is your ingenuity and imagination. The only rule of the game is that you must always use all seven pieces.

If you want an idea of the figures that you can create with a tangram, there are various guides and internet sites. There, you’ll find a wide variety of templates to help you. However, the real magic begins when you start to stimulate your own imagination. With just a little ingenuity and patience, you can create animals, people, objects, letters, and more…

The Benefits of Tangrams for Children

The benefits of tangrams

Tangrams are a great educational resource for the teaching of different mathematical disciplines. At the same time, this activity is great for stimulating creativity and imagination in both children and adults. So, we can say that using tangram contributes to the development and improvement of aspects like:

  • Attention and concentration.
  • The development of psychomotor and intellectual capacities.
  • Visual memory: Children must observe the model – or template – and then reproduce it. In this sense, it develops visual memorization.
  • Visual perception: Tangram involves the interpretation and discrimination of some visual stimuli from others.
  • Orientation and spacial structurization: Children learn and relate some objects with others in relation to the position that they’re in (above, below, left, right)
  • It allows for the training of visual-motor coordination: Hand-eye coordination.

In the same way, using tangrams:

  • Contributes to the formation of abstract ideas.
  • Encourages the ability for children to discover things on their own.
  • Allows children to come to conclusions and generate their own knowledge.
  • Develops the ability to reflect and reason in order to come up with a solution.
  • Encourages patience and ingenuity.

Benefits of tangrams as a mathematical resource

As we’ve already mentioned, you can use tangrams to teach a variety of mathematical disciplines. For example, geometry, algebra, or the combination of the two.

By manipulating the different pieces, we can compose and decompose a number of geometrical figures. In the same way, we can construct other figures and establish relationships between them. Furthermore, we can learn endless mathematical concepts ranging from lower elementary all the way up to higher education. Some of these concepts are:

  • Measuring, describing, and classifying angles.
  • Recognizing congruent figures.
  • Defining the concept of congruence.
  • Calculating the areas of polygons and different types of figures.
  • Measuring the perimeters of polygons and figures.

“Playing, for a boy or girl, is the possibility of cutting out a piece of the world and manipulating it in order to understand it.”

– Francesco Tonucci –

The Benefits of Tangrams for Children

Some activities for small children using tangrams

At the same time, tangrams are an excellent tool for developing creativity and imagination. Besides its mathematical applications, we can also use tangrams to build and invent stories. That’s because they give us the possibility of creating endless figures… They also give us the possibility of creating great stories.

  • Inventing silhouettes. Here, the objective is to manipulate and create figures in such a way that children explore different ways of playing. You can start with two or three pieces and gradually increase. Once they’re done creating the figures, they’ll go on to trace them on paper. Finally, they can color their drawings.
  • Storytelling. With the help of adults, children can create animals, people, and various objects in order to create stories. In this sense, tangrams boost creativity and imagination.

Children can also trace, color, and cut out the figures they create. In this sense, tangrams also contribute to psychomotor development. Finally, children can use their paper creations to recreate their stories.

So, if you want your own tangram, here’s a link to a video that explains how to make one yourself. That way, you can start enjoying the benefits of tangrams along with your children!


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.