A tangram toast dreidel may prove to be my least popular post, but as I tell my children, you gotta be you, even if no one wants to be around the you you gotta be.
As edible dreidels go, this version lacks the visual appeal and programming power of the marshmallow versions and my new, spinning caramel dreidel, but by golly, my homely piece of toast is educational. It’s a tangram, it’s a dreidel, and you can eat it.
Tangram pieces are not usually edible, but Tangram toast isn’t unheard of (see a cute tutorial for a toast cat at Almost Unschoolers). This morning, our toast cried out to be a dreidel. We started by cutting it into a square, and then into the seven traditional tan shapes.* After eating the tiny parallelogram, we played with the ‘symmetry of six’ and ended up with a dreidel.
Some people (hi, Sweetie) are not fond of tangrams, and some people (hi, Bubbe) could sit and fiddle with tangrams all damn day and never come up for air. I might be one of the latter type. I started writing a book of Jewish Tangrams, got stymied with the vector software, and then got distracted by my Naturalist studies. But I still hold that tangrams are neato, hands-on, mind-enlarging tools, and oh-so versatile.
My favorite tangram materials are thick wood and the foam-covered magnets, my least favorite are paper or thin plastic. Tangrams need sensorial heft to be truly fun, and a bit of weight makes it a pleasure just to scoot the tans around. Toast works, for a laugh and a nibble, and for a thematic nod to Hanukkah.
Left: a pic of our wooden set, exploded, with the same 6 tan dreidel pattern.
New to tangrams? Here’s a tangram site with pages of history, puzzles, challenges, templates, printables and other stuff, run by a mensch in Canada named Randy. He very kindly helped me with my software questions last year.
*2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 square, 1 parallelogram.