The smile on her face, the gleam in her eyes, and the thumbs-up tells us that seven-year old Gillian has just successfully put the seven pieces of the Soma puzzle back into a cube. The personal joy achieved by solving a difficult problem is, in my opinion, best expressed by Danish polymath Piet Hein, in his famous aphorism,
Well done Gillian!
There is nothing better for bolstering a person’s self-esteem than for that person to solve a difficult problem. Self-esteem is earned, not awarded
Engaging with three-dimensional puzzles helps develop persistence and exercises the spatial visualization and problem-solving skills so important in the arts and sciences.
Those are reasons enough for us to be sure that our kids and grand kids have puzzles like the Soma cube to learn from and enjoy.
The Soma puzzle is available on the Internet or you can glue wood cubes together to make each of the seven pieces as shown in this diagram.
If you would like drawings of more Soma structures (other than the cube) to build, send an email request to
and request one or both of these pdf files:
Soma Structures I and
Soma Structures II.
Also, check out the previous blog posts that tell about three other youngsters, Malachi, Asher, and John, and the problems they explored using the seven Soma pieces.
• May 2009 – Malchi’s Soma Cube
• June 2009 – Asher’s Soma Pieces
• April 2010 – John’s Soma Towers