Every day, we move through and interact with our surroundings. In order to accomplish this, spatial awareness is very important. But what exactly is spatial awareness?
Spatial awareness refers to your ability to be aware of objects in space and your body’s position in relation to them.
So why exactly is spatial awareness important? How can you recognize potential spatial awareness problems? Lets flesh it out:
Spatial awareness allows us to be conscious of the things in our environment as well as our position relative to them. This ability is important for several reasons, such as:
Location: Spatial awareness gives context to the location of an object. For example, knowing that a cup is on a table as opposed to under it (keep your eyes peeled for more info on this in our next Busy Book!).
Movement: Having spatial awareness can inform you of how people and objects move through the environment. This can help you navigate your surroundings.
Social: Spatial awareness can affect social functions like maintenance of personal space.
Reading and writing: A spatial understanding is needed for understanding sentence structure and grammar.
Mathematics: Some mathematical concepts also require spatial awareness. Examples include geometry and ordering or arranging numbers.
Spatial awareness also goes hand-in-hand with another concept called proprioception. Proprioception refers to your awareness of your body and limbs in your surrounding space.
For example, when you reach across a table to grab a pencil, you use proprioception to know how much to move the muscles in your arm in order to make that motion. You also use spatial awareness to gauge the distance between yourself and the pencil.
So how can you work to promote spatial awareness in children?
Talk about locations: An example of this is leaving your Busy Book on a table and talking about where the Busy Book is in relation to the table (on the table), then talking about where the table is (in the dining room).
Discuss distance: Talk about how far or how close things are from your child’s current location. Measuring distances, such as through using steps, may also be helpful.
Teach shapes and sizes: Point out the shapes and sizes of objects. For example in the Shapes section of the Colours Shapes Patterns Busy Book there are a couple of activities of every day items as shapes, you can engage your little one in discussing what shapes the items are, where you would find them and which one is bigger or smaller than the other or do activity 14, sorting animals in size or activity 19, sorting shapes in colours and size, in the Colours Shapes Patterns Busy Book.
Explore directions: Try giving your child simple directions when playing with your Busy Books, such as "can you find an activity on emotions in your Busy Book", "can you put all the circles on your activity first" etc.
Play games: Various games and activities can help a child learn spatial awareness. Examples are completing some of the connecting cut our puzzles in the Colours Shapes and Patterns Busy Book such as activities 11, 12,13, 20.
Spatial awareness is something we will focus a lot more on in our 3rd Busy Book, due out soon. Watch this space!