The Soma cube is a a 3x3x3 cube-shaped puzzle made with 27 cubes. These 27 cubes are formed into seven unique pieces of no more than four cubes each, and each piece must be irregular, containing some sort of nook or turn.
The Soma cube was created by a Danish polymath named Piet Hein, and is famous for its use in psychological and intellectual experiments. There appears to be a strong correlation between the speed and accuracy with which a person can do the Soma cube and a person’s IQ.
That being said, we didn’t make a Soma cube to test our IQ or participate in any fancy scientific experiments. We just think the Soma cube is a fun and addicting puzzle!
Note: See my math activities for kids page for more hands-on activities that teach mathematical thinking.
The Soma cube is a fun puzzle for engaging in spatial reasoning. With the Soma cube, thinking in two dimensions isn’t enough; you need to think in 3D!
Playing with the Soma cube also develops architectural skills and hand-eye coordination.
While you can buy a Soma cube online, we think it’s more fun to make your own!
See the whole process in this video:
And if you prefer to see things in writing instead of video, I’ve provided written directions with photographs below.
To make a Soma cube, you will need:
- 27 cubes all of the same size. (If you don’t have cubes handy, then check out the selection of wooden cubes available on Amazon.)
- Double sided tape or hot glue
Because I wanted to be able to use our cubes again for other purposes, I opted to make our Soma cube using double sided tape. But if you want to make a Soma cube you can use permanently, feel free to use hot glue instead.
I used the tape to stick blocs together to form the pieces of the puzzle.
The Soma cube requires seven unique pieces, all comprised of three or four blocks. The pieces actually reminded me a lot of when I used to play Tetris as a kid. . . just in 3D!
Once your pieces are done, it’s time to assemble them.
Here is the finished cube. Yay!
Once you’ve masted building the cube, there are so many other 3D figures you can create. Check out this document (PDF) to see all the possibilities!
More resources for teaching math
More math activities from Gift of Curiosity:
- Venn diagram sorting practice
- Teaching combinations of 10
- Introduction to probability
- Build a 3D rainbow
- Advanced symmetry activities
- Advanced patterns worksheets