Quick! Your kids are hovering over you, asking you for the tablet, begging for another 15 minutest of video games and all you want to do is drink your tea and close your eyes against the onslaught and cacophony of voices! What do you do?
Why you give them this paper triangle puzzle of course! When they first see it they will guffaw and laugh,
That's so easy, Mom!
But you know better. You also know from trying out these family brain teasers that they won't back down from a challenge, especially one they think is oh-so-easy! This simple geometric paper puzzle will stump them and keep from asking for screens longer than you think!
And the clincher is that once they solve it–if they ever do [insert evil laugh here]–they will want to stump their siblings, friends, relatives and teachers!
How do you make this genius triangle puzzle, you ask?
Well, I'm going to give you the secret step-by-step instructions below.
How to Make the Triangle Puzzle
What you need:
- Square paper such as origami paper. Origami paper won't lie entirely flat. If that is important to you, use card stock. But don't get bogged down with the type of paper. Use whatever you have, as long as it is a perfect square.
Watch the video for the how-to, or scroll down for written instructions!
There are two methods of cutting the square into triangles. You can either draw the lines to be cut, or fold them so there are no pencil marks. Potentially, pencil marks offer clues to solving the puzzle (thus potentially shortening the solving process and cutting short your coffee break!).
Take a square piece of paper and mark the midpoint on each side.
Using a ruler, draw a line from the top middle point to the left side middle point.
Using the ruler and pencil connect the top middle crease to the bottom right corner.
Draw a line connecting the bottom middle crease to the left middle crease.
You now have four triangles. These will form the pieces of the puzzle. Cut out the triangles.
Mix up the triangle pieces and hand them over to your kids, telling them to arrange them in a square.
Head off to finish that coffee.
Note: If the pencil marks are too much of a giveaway you can create the triangles with a folding method instead.
Here's how to use the folding method:
Grab the corners of the square and start to fold paper, as if in half. Instead of creasing along the middle, just squeeze the edges where the midpoint on the sides would be. Rotate and repeat with the other two edges.
Now fold down the left corner thusly:
Next, fold the edges in the following ways:
- top middle crease to the left side middle crease
- top middle crease to the bottom right corner
- bottom middle crease to the left middle crease
In the video instructions below I have a tip for making those creases! However, if you want to avoid any extraneous creases and folds, then use the ruler to measure and mark the midpoint of each side.
Finally, cut out the triangles along the creases.
Make as many as you want in all different sizes and colors, and mix them up for an added challenge!
Do you want to step up your DIY puzzle game? Introduce your kids to the famous T Puzzle! The T Puzzle takes an adult an average of 30 minutes to solve and your kids will love to stump the grown ups in their lives. Both the T Puzzle and this paper triangle puzzle may remind you of tangrams, but of course they are not quite the same thing!