Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Editorial Team
Toddlers are very curious; they want to scrutinise and investigate new places and objects with their little limbs. Enthusiasm makes them learn fascinating skills. Schools today probably recognise this. They emphasise reasoning abilities for these curious learners of academics. Spatial reasoning and relations form a key lesson in this context.
Are you bewildered in search of perfect spatial relationship activity? We can respond with our handpicked suggestions for your youngster.
Spatial Relation for little learners- What does it actually mean?
Spatial relations is the ability to perceive the location of a certain object in correlation with the other. The relation formed between the objects perfectly defines a person’s capacity for spatial relations. For example- The laptop is on the table, but it should be kept in the bag.
Visual-spatial skills help solve day-to-day tasks like driving a car, calculating the speed of a ball being thrown at us, getting directions from a map, and much more. The child’s perception of space, shape, size, position and movement can help in tracking these skills.
It is beneficial to ingrain these skills at a tender age as it takes a lot of brainpower to develop them. When children try to hold toys, they initially miss out by a few centimetres but slowly get the hang of the distance, stretch their body and lift their hands at a certain angle. All of these steps make them understand how to change their body position to reach an object.
Teaching mathematics and verbal reasoning and relational ability without spatial relation skill are like preparing soup without water; it would have all the basic ingredients without base: the water.
Spatial relations are important to perform well in math lessons. Multiple studies link different types of spatial skill development to different lessons in mathematics.
Good Spatial scaling makes students master positioning numbers on a number line. Those who are good in mental rotation have shown a higher ability to solve problems of missing numbers. These skills are very important for certain career prospects. For example, an Engineer needs to visualise the structure of a building or a bridge, and Surgeons also use this skill while performing surgeries. Thus, Spatial relation skills are intertwined to our day-to-day success.
List of spatial relation activities for preschoolers
1. Space to Explore
Let your child roam around and crawl into a safe environment to explore. You will see their eyes open up; they will learn to ask questions about the things they see. When children explore external environments, it prompts thinking and develops the child’s mental abilities.
Let them touch new objects or give them a ball so that they can play around on their own. Self-exploration helps them understand near, far, high, and low concepts, which they will carry forward later in their lives.
2. Arts- Let them be creative
Be it with pencils or crayons; every child loves to draw. Arts like drawing and painting stimulate their brains to grow, encouraging them to draw things they see in their surroundings. Additionally, this helps them to understand the concept of space and geometry. Arts also plays a huge role in building motor skills, which eventually helps in contributing to the enhancement of Spatial Relations in kids. Drawing can also develop their decision-making and problem-solving skills, which will take them a long way in their STEM fields. This is imperative because spatial relations are a crucial aspect of STEM.
3. Board Games and Puzzles
Teach and make time for children to join a board game or in solving a puzzle. This develops their planning skill and gives a better understanding of how shapes fit with each other.
A classic example is Chess, where you need to visualise an entire board and your opponent’s potential moves. With its focus on problem-solving skills, it is no surprise that chess helps in improving mathematics ability. Some other games worth mentioning are tic-tac-toe, checker, and UNO.
4. Play Hide and Seek
Finding a good hiding spot uses a good amount of spatial reasoning skills to determine the effectiveness of the hiding spot. It is considered the best way to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Children learn to be systematic while searching, and winning will give them a sense of accomplishment as well.
This effective game for early learners is popular and interesting, making your teaching job much easier. Moreover, you can make this game even more interesting for younger children by hiding a stuffed toy somewhere and then asking them to look for it. This also acts similarly, as they need to establish connections between places and objects, thus boosting their spatial relation skills.
5. Play with Tessellations
Tessellation is the non-periodic tiling of a surface with geometric shapes such that there is no gap in between. Students can make multiple shapes of varied sizes. This activity makes them intrigued and boosts their spatial relations skills as they need to form a correlation between the shapes and arrange them.
It also helps in measuring distances by counting the number of tiles and also in developing a child’s numerical skills. Further, it will also help students figure out mathematical problems by breaking them down into unit tiles without relying on mathematical formulas.
6. Matching Structures
This activity lets your child create a structure with legos or similar blocks. Let your child observe it for a minute or two, dismantle them and ask them to build a replica. The toddler builds mental images and develops observational and fine motor skills.
You can also give a picture to replicate; students can learn the importance of experimentations through this. Much like the memory game, this game makes the child think hard, and later building the exact same figurine would help understand the concept of the relationship between objects. The child would also require to memorise which block would come where. For example- a child might remember that the red block comes to the big yellow block. This helps profoundly with spatial relation skills.
7. Explore Maps
Hooking toddlers to maps is an inordinate idea. Technology fascinates children; they love to see themselves moving on the map. Try helping them figure out the street they are in and let them explore the map on an outing. This will help them get a better understanding of their position.
Additionally, little learners can interpret words like small, big, and adjacent and associated meanings. It will also help them understand the concept of symbols. For instance, distinguishing specific symbols for no parking, no right turn, intersection, etc. This way, they interpret how real-world symbols turn into abstract symbols.
Spatial relations for children- Why are they crucial?
Being the basis of their mathematical abilities, spatial relations develop working memory and computing skills in toddlers, which are also required in solving mathematical problems. Let us dive into other benefits:
- Students trained in spatial relations better understand object rotations and number sense.
- Spatial reasoning forms the basis of STEM education by increasing their critical thinking ability. It fosters curiosity and gets the child’s creative juices flowing. Teaching Spatial relations early in life gives a clear head-start over others.
- Each one of us requires some essential daily skills for an efficient life. In this regard, spatial relation helps by contributing to areas like tying shoelaces, reflex actions, maps, and many more.
- Spatial relations help develop verbal reasoning skills that ensure our perception of internal and external environments. It develops our empathy and makes us more sensitive to logical reasoning skills and other people’s problems.
- Finally, these skills help enhance cognitive skills and IQ, also known as Spatial IQ, which is an ability to solve problems in three dimensions. Toddlers with high spatial IQ excel at mentally manipulating puzzles and enjoy solving puzzles. This also helps them in their career and life ahead.
Comprehending the various attributes of objects, where they are, and how to get them forms the basis of spatial relations skills. A child must know how to organise things and locate objects physically. This will help them talk about the world around them and make them share their concerns. For example, when a child identifies that his toy has rolled under the table, the spatial relation skills make him voice his concern saying, ‘My toy is under the table.’ While there is no denying that we are born spatially aware, yet these skills need to be enhanced from early years. Make your child indulge in the activities above to watch them make the cut!
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’,