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At Heguru, there is always one activity where the children have to create a picture using tangrams or another puzzle called “iroita” (see image below – from The Story of Us).
The outlines are drawn onto a worksheet and the children need to find the right shapes to fit the shapes on the worksheet. It is like doing a puzzle.
You can buy a tangram puzzle from Amazon or you can make your own tangram puzzle following the instructions on the video below:
For this activity, you can create outlines for your child to fill in. If you’re creative, you can come up with your own designs and mark the outlines onto a piece of paper. If you want a little more help, you can buy tangram puzzle books which will give you plenty to work with. Alternatively, you can check out youtube for videos to give you some inspiration:
The second activity you can do – which was recommended to me by one of the staff at Heguru – is to give your child the puzzle pieces and ask your child to create his own pictures and patterns.
Personally, I don’t think you need to limit this activity to tangrams and iroita. If your child has building blocks with lots of different shapes, you can ask him to make patterns and pictures using those. I’m sure playing with Lego, Megablocks, and any other similar blocks are just as beneficial, too. I think you should also encourage your child to play with Jigsaw puzzles.
What does this activity do? Shichida doesn’t really say, but this is what I think… Allowing your child to build his own patterns encourages his creativity. Playing this activity as a puzzle help to train mental imaging since you need to see the bigger picture in your mind to be able to complete the puzzle.