What Did I Change?

Recommended Age: 4+ | Mathematical Topic: Spatial Skills

What To Do

Play with blocks or other building materials alongside your child. As you do, talk with him or her about the shapes and positions of the objects. For example, you might say, "I put this long, skinny block on top of that big rectangle. Look what happens when I turn the top one." Point to draw attention to the parts you are talking about and use your hands to model and reinforce positional language, such as long, turn, and top.

Engage your child in a comparing and guessing game with a very small number of blocks (just 2 or 3 for starters). Make a simple structure and challenge your child to make one that matches yours exactly. Then have your child close his or her eyes while you change one thing about your structure (rotating a piece or sliding a piece toward the middle or end). When your child opens his or her eyes, have him compare the two structures and use words and gestures to describe what you changed. Trade roles and play again.

Moving On

Children will often gesture correctly, even before they know or reliably use correct spatial terms. So pay attention to the gestures and spatial words that your child uses in every day activities that offer opportunities for spatial thinking and description, such as taking a walk ("Look at the dog in front of us"), playing on the playground ("My swing almost went over the trees!"), or creating artwork ("I'm going to do blue on top and red on bottom.").

See it in action