Spatial awareness is a vital part of your child’s development as it allows them to understand the location of other objects in relation to their own body. Having spatial awareness skills means that your child will be able to understand their surroundings and will be able to judge how far, close, or high things are from them. For example, spatial awareness helps your child to understand how far away their toy is from them, or how far away you are from them.
Spatial awareness leads to understanding of distance, location and direction and is a cognitive skill that should be developed at an early age. While spatial awareness does come naturally to most children, there are certain games and activities that can help improve and develop the skill.
The following four games are an effective and fun way to help improve your child’s spatial awareness skills whilst they play.
This popular board game has been around since the ’60’s and is a great game to encourage spatial awareness through play. Because the game requires your child to stretch out and place an arm or a leg on a coloured circle, your child is encouraged to correctly judge the position of his/her body in relation to that coloured circle. Doing this prompts your child to think about his/her body and the required amount of movement and stretching.
So the next time your child reaches out to a different coloured circle, your child would have learnt something about how far they need to stretch in relation to the distance of the circle.
The game also helps to consolidate your child’s knowledge of ‘left’ and ‘right.’ As the game goes on and the designated circles are further apart, it becomes harder to remain upright so balancing skills improve and the kids will love tying themselves up in knots!
2. Simon Says
This classic mimicking game is actually one of the simplest and most effective ways for your child to learn spatial awareness skills. The act of remembering and copying the movements of another person helps your child to understand their movements in relation to the movements of others. This in turn will teach them to control their bodies as they become more aware of personal space.
3. Musical Statues
Musical statues increases body and spatial awareness, balancing skills and also reaction times as your child stops and starts to the music. This game is a great one for teaching your child to control his/her movements which in turn will teach him/her how to manage their own individual space and judge their body’s location in relation to others.
4. Jigsaws & Models
All games involving fitting individual pieces together such as jigsaws and Lego are perfect for improving spatial awareness in children. These sorts of games help to develop placement and spatial skills and also problem-solving as your child learns to recognise the relationship between the space or gap and the puzzle piece or block that fits it.
Make sure the puzzle is suitable for your child’s age group to avoid them getting fed up and frustrated with themselves. An age-appropriate puzzle will make for a happy kiddie with great spatial skills!
By taking the time to develop your child’s spatial awareness skills, you are helping them to understand their relationship to the world around them. This in turn will help your child at school as they will have a good perception of things and will be less likely to bump into people and objects.
Brisbane-based mum of 2 young boys and owner of Grasshopper Jumping Castles