How to Solve Tangram Puzzles

Tangram puzzles are solved by rearranging the 7 basic Tangram shapes to form the puzzle without overlapping any pieces: ​​

  • 2 large triangles 
  • 1 medium triangle 
  • 2 small triangles
  • 1 square 
  • 1 parallelogram

While there's no guaranteed solution method for solving a Tangram Farm puzzle, applying a puzzle solving strategy can help help you solve a challenging Tangram puzzle.

Tangram Puzzle Solving Strategies

Here are some problem solving strategies that can help you solve Tangram puzzles:

1) Look for Isolated Shapes from the 7 Tangram Pieces

Some Tangram puzzle solutions use isolated, basic shapes straight from the tangram set. Start by looking for the square, quadrilateral, 2 large triangles, medium triangle, and 2 small triangles from the original tangram set.  Identifying 1 or more of the basic Tangram shapes as part of the tangram puzzle solution will reduce the number of other shapes you will need to consider for the rest of the puzzle. 
For instance, this Tangram Farm Potted Plant puzzle has several easily identifiable Tangram pieces:
Tangram Farm Potted Plant Puzzle Card
Once the square, quadrilateral, and 2 small triangles have been placed in the puzzle solution, only the medium triangle and 2 large triangles remain. 4 of the 7 Tangram Shapes have been placed in the solution, so you only need to work with 3 Tangram shapes to finish the puzzle:
Tangram Farm Potted Plant Partial Solution
Identifying isolated shapes from the original 7 Tangram shapes can reduce the size of the problem, which can help you solve the Tangram puzzle.

2) Identify Any Areas with Many Possible Solutions.

Sometimes a tangram puzzle might have many solutions based on how you decide to arrange the 7 tangram pieces. Remember, two small triangles can create a square, parallelogram, or a medium triangle.

For instance consider this Tangram Farm Rabbit puzzle:

Tangram Farm Rabbit Solution Card

Both the left ear and the arm of the Tangram Rabbit could potentially be made with either the two small triangle Tangram piece or the quadrilateral Tangram piece.

Tangram Farm Rabbit Partial Solution, Version 1                  Tangram Farm Rabbit Partial Solution, Version 2

 

3) Eliminate Impossible Solutions.

Start with Large Pieces: Begin by placing the bigger shapes, like the large triangles or the square, to form the main body or outline of the target figure. Some shapes will be too large to fit in some regions, which will give you some clues as to which regions they will fit into.

The remaining region of the Tangram Farm Potted Plant can be solved by logically considering the placement of the three remaining Tangram pieces.

Think about Angles and Edges: The outline of the figure that you are trying to create can give you clues about which pieces you should use.

Tangram Farm Potted Plant Partial Solution, Part 2

Since there are two large triangles and one medium triangle left, one of these three shapes must be used to form the top of the planter. No other combination of the three shapes would allow for the edge of the planter to extend past the both sides of the planter.

Fill in the gaps with smaller pieces: Once the large structure is down, use the remaining smaller pieces to fill in the details and gaps within the silhouette.

Tangram Farm Potted Plant Solution Card

4) Use an Organized Trial and Error

Use a System for Experimenting: Don't be afraid to try different combinations, but do it systematically. Try placing one piece at a time in various orientations (flipped or rotated) to see if it fits the puzzle.

Learn from your Mistakes: If a placement doesn't work, analyze why and try a different approach with that specific piece or another one.

5) Study How to Solve Tangram Puzzles

How Have Other People Solved Similar Puzzles?  Try to solve a Tangram Farm puzzle yourself first. If you get stuck, take a look at Tangram puzzle books or searching online can help you understand the logic and patterns behind forming more complex designs. 

Use a Tangram Solving Study Guide. A study reference like the Tangram Farm Coloring and Activity book can help you understand the logic behind the placement of Tangram pieces.

 

This interactive book helps you learn the basics of Tangram puzzle solving with a fun, step-by-step series of coloring activities, including spot-the-difference, mazes, crosswords, and many more engaging activities!

6) Start with Easier Tangram Puzzles 

Not all Tangram puzzles offer the same challenge! Checkout this article on how to identify which Tangram Farm puzzles are easier than others.

7) Practice makes Perfect

The more you play with Tangrams, the better you'll become at visualizing shapes and their combinations. Give yourself the goal of solving 1 new Tangram Farm puzzle every day!

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