In this post, we will be sharing why spatial awareness development in children is essential. Spatial awareness is crucial in our daily lives because we interact and move through surroundings each and every day. You are probably wondering what precisely spatial awareness is.
It basically is having the capability of being aware of objects in space and the body’s position in relation to those objects. To learn more about spatial awareness development, how to help your child with improving spatial awareness, and how to recognise possible issues, keep reading.
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Why Spatial Awareness Development in Children is Essential
Children must develop spatial awareness because it allows them to be conscious of objects in their environment and their position in relation to them. Having this ability is crucial for various reasons, which include:
Spatial awareness provides context to the location of an item. For instance, knowing that a pencil is on the table instead of under it.
Spatial awareness notifies you of how many objects and people are moving through the environment. This helps you with navigating your surroundings.
- Writing And Reading
Without spatial understanding, a child will have difficulty with writing and reading because they need to understand grammar and sentence structure.
- Social Development
Spatial awareness can impact social functions such as maintenance of their personal space.
For certain mathematical concepts, spatial awareness is required. A good example is geometry and arranging or ordering numbers.
Spatial awareness is closely linked with proprioception as well. Proprioception refers to a child’s awareness of his or her body and limbs in their surrounding space.
For instance, when they reach across the table to fetch a pencil, they use proprioception to be aware of how much muscle movement in their arm is needed to complete the motion. Spatial awareness is needed to estimate the distance between themselves and the pencil.
What Can You Do to Promote Spatial Awareness In Your Child?
Teach Them About Sizes And Shapes
Talk To Them About Locations
When they leave a toy or object on the table, you can explain to them the toy’s location in relation to the table. For instance, the toy is on the table and not under it. You can also talk about the location of the table, in the kitchen or dining room.
Teach Them About Distance
You can show them how close or far things are from where your child is. Measuring distance, like counting your steps, can be useful.
There are so many activities and games that you can do with your child to promote spatial awareness. Playing games like “I Spy”, doing puzzles, or playing with blocks are good examples.
Explore Different Directions
Give them basic directions like walking forward, turning left at the next tree, or waving their right hand. You can also try hiding a toy and then give them a map with directions to find it.
Encourage your child to play with different types of equipment at the playground. Sports-related activities like playing catch can also be advantageous.
Can Adults Also Improve Spatial Awareness?
To improve your spatial awareness skills as an adult you can give these activities a try:
Trying a New Hobby
Certain hobbies like drawing or photography can be very beneficial for developing spatial awareness.
Playing Video Games
Emphasize on games where you must manipulate and move items. For instance, playing Tetris or Solitaire can improve spatial skills in adults.
Allocating Time For Play
As in kids, different activities and games can help with improving spatial awareness. These activities can include playing visual memory games, building puzzles, or playing chess.
Exercise is beneficial at any age. Resistance exercise can help older adults to improve their spatial awareness skills.
Signs of Spatial Awareness Shortfalls
Indications that a child or adult might have a shortfall in spatial awareness are:
- Having difficulty in pinpointing the location of an object they see, feel, or hear.
- Having issues with navigating through their surroundings when driving or walking.
- Issues with estimating distance from an object, like when reaching for something, walking, or driving.
- Having difficulty in reading a map or following a route.
- Having difficulty with writing, reading, or mathematics.
- Being confused over directions like up versus down or right versus left.
- Not having good recognition of personal space, that might lead to standing too far or too close from others.
- Having issues with coordination, like having difficulty with catching or throwing objects, appearing clumsy, or not able to get dressed.
What is The Cause of Spatial Awareness Deficits?
Most children start developing spatial awareness from a young age. For instance, babies might track the movements of their parents when they walk through the room, or a toddler might start manipulating and organizing toys.
But, some children might have difficulty in developing spatial awareness. Certain health conditions might influence this development. These conditions include:
Various areas in the brain are responsible for spatial awareness development. Interestingly, the functions linked to spatial awareness are regulated mostly by the right side of your brain. Damage to those areas can also have an impact on spatial awareness. This could happen at any given point in your lifetime and the cause could be related to things such as:
- Neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease
- We as parents can do certain activities with our children to help promote spatial awareness, like building blocks, playing games like “Simon says”, or building puzzles.
- Children normally develop spatial awareness since a young age, but some health conditions could influence this. Damage to particular areas in the brain could also result in issues with spatial awareness.
- Adults can also do certain activities, like staying active, doing puzzles, or taking up a new hobby, to enhance spatial awareness.
I hope that you have found this post about 5 reasons why spatial development in children is essential, useful. Spatial awareness is primarily crucial for being aware of distance, location, and personal space. Knowing your position and surroundings and understanding the relation between them, is essential for healthy development.
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