We can refer to one’s ability to understand and adequately depict where their physical bodies are in accordance with the space, various objects, and other people around them as spatial awareness. Children start developing a sense to understand this from a very early age as these skills are very complex.
Additionally, someone with good spatial awareness skills has a good understanding of their surroundings and is quick to react to any changes they observe around them. Furthermore, the skill of spatial awareness is essential for people to be able to function appropriately in society and play their respective roles.
What are some examples of spatial awareness?
If you were to look around, you would notice that almost every activity that we take part in is a fine example of what we call spatial awareness. Spatial awareness skills are a must to ensure that we function properly. Thus, to help you better understand spatial ability here is a list of ten examples. Starting from simple tasks such as brushing your hair all the way up to complex tasks such as playing a sport, are all good examples of spatial awareness. The chosen examples for this article are:
1. Brushing your Hair
As simple as it sounds, one of the primary examples of spatial awareness is brushing your hair. While it is an effortless task, it still requires one to be able to perform hand-eye coordinated movements. In addition, brushing one’s hair requires one to look at the mirror and understand how inverted images work to reach the desired result when combing your hair. Furthermore, when you are trying to brush your hair, you already have an image in your mind about how you want your hair to look. So that you can match that mental image of that hairstyle, you look in the mirror and try and match that same style until you are satisfied with the result.
Therefore, the entire process of brushing your hair while looking at the mirror is a very fine example of spatial awareness. It enables you to understand and realize what mental images you have picturized and bring them out to reality, perform complex hand-eye coordinated movements, and finally, look at the mirror and perform the task referring to your understanding of inverted images.
2. Packing a Suitcase
The packing of a suitcase might seem like a very trivial and simple task; however, when you are packing a bag, you are performing skills that are directly related to your awareness of the space. Starting from understanding how deep and wide the suitcase is to get an idea about how much you can pack or store in the suitcase- everything comes under your spatial awareness. Further, understanding the space within the bag and how to best pack your clothes and other accessories to utilize the space is also a prominent skill related to spatial awareness. Realizing which garments go at the bottom, which should be put on top, and how to fold these garments best to save space and utilize the entire suitcase properly is one of the finest examples of your spatial awareness skills.
3. Solving a Jigsaw Puzzle
Jigsaw puzzles are entertaining to play around with, and almost every one of us is familiar with how it works. However, this kind of puzzle is a fine example of your spatial awareness. Understating how all of the pieces fit together to form a complete picture in your mind, and then slowly organizing the pieces according to that mental image is a fine skill related to the field of spatial awareness. Arranging these pieces by understanding the shapes of the different parts is also an example of the same. An interesting thing to note is that children who start solving puzzles at an early age have been proven to display better spatial awareness skills when compared to other children.
4. Playing Video Games
Playing video games such as Tetris is another example of a very common task that people might not understand and is a fine example of their spatial awareness skills. For those of you that do not know, Tetris is a video game where the players are tasked with completing lines by moving differently shaped objects that descended from the topmost frame. You receive awards when you complete lines as a participant in the game. So, if a player is trying to score points, they need to be aware of how to best fit the shapes in the space assigned by the game to complete the line and earn points. This game exercise pushes one to work on their spatial awareness skills.
5. Solving Rubik’s Cube
Like the other examples on this list, solving a Rubik’s cube is a common and fun activity that highlights one’s spatial awareness skills. When the Rubik’s cube is jumbled, the solver needs to form a mental image of how to turn the side of the cube best to get the colors to match on all sides. Based on this mental image, the player needs to perform the hand-eye coordinated movement to actualize their mental image and solve the puzzle.
6. Playing Sports
Playing sports requires one to perform complex hand-eye coordinated movements and be spatially aware. Playing a sport like a football requires the player to understand how hard to hit the ball when trying to pass to his teammates who are a certain distance away. Understanding how hard to beat and then playing that in the physical world is one of the finest examples of spatial awareness that we have.
7. Playing Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a game that we have all played growing up. However, most of us did not realize that this game develops our spatial awareness skills and is an excellent example of it as well. When people are hiding from the seekers, they need to have a good understanding of the space around them in order to hide away from the seekers’ sight. When it comes to the seeker, they need to understand how to best look at the space they are playing at to determine the best locations where people can hide at.
8. Reading a Map
Reading a map is a skill related to one’s spatial awareness. Looking at the map and understanding which way to go, requires one to be spatially aware of the object that they see around them. Understanding the roads and the building to determine one’s location by looking at the map and then effectively finding the best route is a good example of actualizing your mental images and spatial awareness skills.
9. Understanding Directions
When someone gives you directions, the ability to interpret those directions correctly to reach your destination is a fine example of your spatial awareness skills. Understanding left and right directions and when to take which road according to the directions presented to you, displays how spatially aware you are and how capable you are when traveling to your desired location.
10. Visualizing Objects from Different Perspectives
Understanding and creating a mental image of how an object looks from all sides while only looking at one of its sides is a skill related to your spatial awareness. In our day-to-day life, this is an essential part of functioning correctly by properly understanding everything around us.
How to Develop Spatial Skills in Children?
It is very important for children to develop spatial awareness skills from a very early age as these skills are essential for them to function properly in their daily lives. Parents should allow their children to explore their surroundings in order for them to generate an idea in their minds.
Further, parents may motivate their children to solve puzzles that stimulate their brain growth and encourage them to participate in various sports also. These activities will help them develop a sense of spatial awareness from a very early age.
Why is it Important to Develop Spatial Awareness?
Spatial awareness allows us to appropriately interact with our environment and understand the objects and people that we see around us. Without a proper sense of spatial awareness, it will be very difficult for us to function in mainstream society, which would give birth to a confused state as we won’t be able to react to our environment. Thus, we need to develop these skills early on.
To conclude, we can take notes from the above and say that spatial awareness is something we are engaged in every day, every moment. But maybe we are not always aware of these skills we are already showcasing. It is highly important that parents, teachers, and other caregivers give attention to children’s spatial skill development from early age. In case they identify any problem, they must seek specialist assistance without any delay.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,