These tangram activities are designed to develop visual perceptual skills, visual motor skills, and fine motor skills in kids. Tangrams make a great addition to any occupational therapy treatment bag!
Tangrams are a great tool for learning and development. The colorful shapes are perfect for building images and working on math skills such as shape identification and patterning.
Tangrams are also an easy way to incorporate visual perceptual skills, fine motor skills, and visual motor integration into play.
Development of visual perceptual skills is essential for tasks like reading, writing, math, movement, self-care, and many other functional tasks. These tangram activities are perfect to improve visual perception in a playful way. You can use tangrams to address visual perception in many more ways, including ideas to help with handwriting.
Try DIY Sponge Tangrams for another version of these activities.
And check out these cardboard tangrams for developing visual motor integration skills.
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Visual perception allows us to take in visual information, process it, and use it to interpret information from our environment. There are many parts of visual perception, but today, I’ve got three visual perceptual skills that can be developed using tangrams.
Visual Percepetion and Tangrams
1. Visual Discrimination allows us to determine similarities and differences based on color, shape, etch. This skill allows us to know that a 6 and a 9 are different and that a p and a q are not the same letter.
Use tangrams to work on visual discrimination:
- Place tangram shapes on a piece of paper. Ask the child to locate all of the triangles, all of the squares, etc.
- Ask the child to find shapes that are the same even if they are different sizes. This tangram set has several different sizes of triangles, making it a great tool for form constancy.
- Use two different shapes to discuss what makes the shapes similar and different.
2. Visual Memory allows us to retain visual information. We need visual memory in order to copy written work.
Use tangrams to work on visual memory:
Use the tangrams for a hands-on game of “Simon”. Place shapes on a piece of paper, taking turns to add one new shape at a time. Each player should recall the previous round before adding a new tangram shape.
Place several tangram shapes on a piece of paper. Allow the child to stare at the shapes for a period of time. Then, cover the shapes with a second piece of paper. Ask the child to recall the shapes that they saw.
Use tangrams to work on form constancy:
- Use tangrams to build form constancy by positioning shapes in different positions. Ask the child to locate all of the squares, quadrilaterals, etc.
- Position shapes on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side of the paper, position shapes that can be combined to make the shape on the first side of the paper. Ask the child to match up the two sides.
- Position shapes along one side of a piece of paper. Position matching shapes along the right side of the paper, with the shapes slightly rotated. Ask the child to match up the shapes.
Looking for more ways to build visual perceptual skills? Try these:
- DIY Sponge Tangrams
- Practice “b” and “d” with sensory writing
- Color shape discrimination Sort
- Coin discrimination
- Color matching Elmer Activity
- Create your own race track
- Free Visual Perception Packet
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.