What is Spatial Awareness?
It is very important for children to learn spatial awareness from a very young age.
This means being aware of and later understanding their position in the space that surrounds them. Spatial awareness also includes the understanding of external objects in space in relation to themselves.
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Why is Spatial Awareness Important?
Well, it might save your life, or at least your limbs in more than one occasion in your life.
Your toddler loves running and you’re sure he ran from the moment he stood up for the first time. Initially he ran into things – frequently! The more “Spatially Aware” he became, the fewer crashes he had. That’s because he learnt to navigate his body through space and objects.
He used to just run over (and fall down) the one single step you have in your home. Now, he slows down and climbs down carefully.
Even some adults struggle with spatial awareness. You know you have that one friend, that always walks into things, or hits his head against, well…everything. He might need glasses, or perhaps some spatial awareness exposure.
Having good spatial awareness also improves:
- the ability to estimate distance – good skill to have when crossing a road (or jumping off the bed vs the roof)
- hand-eye coordination – throwing and catching a ball
- an understanding of mathematical concepts
These are just a few and you can research some more, but I think you get the idea – it’s important.
Spatial Awareness & Preposition Activity
With this fun activity you can combine teaching spatial awareness to your toddlers, with a preposition lesson for your preschool and older kids.
There are so many variations you can have with this activity, but here is what we do.
Each child sits on their own chair, waiting for my “commands”. (I let this part carry on a little longer than necessary, mwhahahaha!)
Using prepositions, I instruct them to:
• “Stand on top of the chair.”
• “Stand next to the chair.”
• “Walk around the chair.”
• “Stand behind the chair.”
• “Sit/lie/crawl underneath the chair.”
Monkey See, Monkey Do
The older ones grasp it quicker and even if they know their prepositions and have good spatial awareness, they still enjoy the fun and silliness that comes with this game.
The little ones tend to copy the older ones, and thus learn what each of those “commands” (prepositions) mean.
Sometimes we replace the chair with a box, so they can get inside of the box.
Other times we use an object:
- “Hold the toy above your head.”
- “Hold the toy behind your back.”
- “Place the toy in front of you.”
- “Close the toy inside your hands.”
Once you get the hang of it, get creative and see how many prepositions you can cover in a session, but remember…FUN is the easiest way for them to absorb information. They connect with the emotion and laughter, much more than the words, so their brains will use these moments as a memory trigger the next time they need to remember prepositions.
Here are a few other ideas to improve Spatial Awareness and the knowledge of Prepositions:
- Peek-a-boo – teaching object permanence from a young age.
- Obstacle course -remember to include prepositions like “over”, “under” and “through”.
- Doll House – acknowledge the dolls’ position in their “house”.
- Jungle Gym
- Mirror games
- Rope jumping
For another great language development activity, look at this easy to make Word Building Activity.