|Babies||Walkers to 2||2s to 3s||3s to 4s|
Overview and benefit
Spatial awareness is the ability to see the position of two or more objects in relation to each other and to oneself in space – to understand how much space an object takes up and how it can fit with another object, either on or in or next to etc. Children need to understand about size and shape and weight and to be able to make some comparisons between objects. The best way for children to learn this is through experience of handling objects and putting objects together. Good small spatial awareness is needed to handle objects and tools successfully and has even been linked to reading and numeracy. Spatial awareness in general is needed for good organisation skills, presentation skills and even in structuring written work.
- Some background music (without vocals if possible)
- Assortment of cushions, boxes, hoops and tunnels, or you can use a parachute
One to two weeks
How it works
This activity is about giving babies opportunities to feel where their bodies end and where the rest of the world begins by putting them into fun confined spaces.
What to do in the class
Explain the benefits of this exercise to the adults in the class.
Use and assortment of the props, i.e. big boxes, hoops and tunnels and cushions piled on the floor. Invite the carer s to explore the spaces with their children. Also encourage the carers to help the babies explore their space, by swinging, or rocking in the air, or holding on their bellies and moving through the air.
Have the babies sit between carers legs, or if crawling allow free range, waft the parachute gently up and down over babies heads, make and enclosed tent with the babies and parent s inside. By hold the parachute pulled down behind the adults’ backs.
- Put baby in things – big boxes, hoops, tunnels
- Make barricades around babies? Can they push down the walls?
- Going under the parachute – feeling with their hands, heads and feet when the parachute comes down to their level
- Being swung around by parent – feeling themselves in space – perhaps they could all land really slowly on their feet, so they anticipate when they might feel the floor again under their feet?
- Use pop up tents, tunnels
Adaptations for younger children
Younger babies can still explore the spaces, they will need to do this as tummy time in some cases (like the tunnel).
What to do in a nursery setting
Work in the same way as in a class in a small circle encouraging the staff to work for a short time with each baby.
Make dens using a pairs of chairs and draped blankets. Encourage parents to have fun at home making dens. You could even encourage them to post their best pictures of their dens on facebook!