I throw crafty projects for kids into the quilting and sewing mix from time to time. If I can keep the children engaged in an activity or game, I can spend more time at the sewing machine. We made these tangrams last weekend. So far, it's kept Annabel busy for hours. Colton likes it too, but at 2.5 his attention span only lasts for about 15 minutes before he has to get up and throw a ball.
When I was growing up in Oregon, my father had an architectural firm called Tangram Architects. We had these little puzzles sitting around the house. Originating in imperial China (early 1800s), they're called the seven intriguing pieces. Each piece is called a tan. Thousands of designs can be created from these seven pieces. Since we all like puzzles at our house, it's fun to build things without being constricted to the four straight sides of a traditional puzzle. I also like to think of it as early quilt design practice.
Four tangrams can be created out of one magnet sheet. For each tangram, cut a 4 1/4" square magnet sheet, a 4 1/4" piece of adhesive sheet and a 4 1/4" piece of craft foam. Remove the paper from the adhesive sheet and adhere the sticky side to the paper (non magnetic) side of the magnetic sheet. Use a pencil or a finger to smooth out the sheet and remove any air bubbles. Remove the backing off the adhesive sheet and with the sticky side up, carefully align the edges of the craft foam square. You will now have a magnetic square of craft foam!
Place the square craft foam side up onto the tangram die, making sure all the edges of the blades are covered. With cutting pad in place, die cut the tangram. Repeat all steps for all seven colors, making sure to always die cut with the craft foam facing up so that your tangrams will all be the same (the parellelogram will be wonky otherwise).
Since there are seven pieces, or tans, in one tangram and seven colors of craft foam were used, you now have seven complete sets of tangrams.
There are a variety of sites online that show pictures that can be used as a guide. This is a running fox.
A sitting fox.
We use all seven sets mixed up together to make our own designs. Annabel has been making free form robots in pink and purple. Colton likes to line up the shapes in rows of squares, triangles, etc. They can be used on a fridge or dishwasher, or on a cookie sheet. We have alumininum cookie sheets so the magnetic part doesn't work, but it's fun to sit on the floor and play anyway.
Has anyone seen the new tangram fabric by Rashida Coleman Hale for Cotton + Steel? It's part of the Moonlit collection. Hawthorne Threads is accepting Cotton + Steel pre-orders, and Marmalade Fabrics is accepting pre-orders for monthly bundle subscriptions.
For more kid-related projects, please click here.
Have a fantastic Father's day weekend!!