Soma Puzzles are made of seven pieces made up of a total of 27 cubes. In some ways they are like three-dimensional tangram puzzles. After looking at a few pictures online I found I could easily create a set using the little craft cubes that I had been using for homemade dice for homemade boardgames. My first attempt used a glue-gun but the bulkiness of the glue made the cubes not fit together properly, so my second attempt used wood glue. It takes longer to dry but creates a better product.
The Soma Pieces can be assembled into a 3 x 3 cube, but more fun than that was discovering what other shapes and patterns we could make with them. How do they fit together? Which pieces are most awkward to use? What are the limits to the types of shapes we can make? (We cannot make a straight wall, because each piece involves some sort of corner and three of them involve corners going two different directions.) Using pieces from two Soma sets together my four year old built a little model robot.
There are many wonderful pages about Soma puzzles online, but the one I liked best has a huge collection of different shapes one can make. Although they shapes aren’t named, when my children and I attempted to copy them we would name our creations after what they appeared to look like. One of the pictures here illustrates “the sea serpent.”