Spatial intelligence is how we visualize and represent a spatial world in our mind, using concepts like form, shape, colour etc. and manipulate it or understand how things will impacted in a spatial dimension when we change something.
For a child, who is strong in spatial intelligence, here are some ways in which you can provide interesting learning opportunities.
Strengths of children with spatial intelligence
- They visualize things very well in their minds
- They can also manipulate things in their mind space and analyze what the impact of any changes will be
- They have very active imaginations and can easily create new worlds in their minds (may appear to be day dreaming)
- They can manipulate and play with physical objects very well and have mature fine motor skills
- They can also express themselves very well by creating/drawing physical forms
- They tend to move around as part of their learning process (may not be able to sit still)
Activities that children with spatial intelligence will enjoy
- Use shapes and objects
- Draw and paint
- Play with colors
- Touch and feel things
- Love hearing fairy tales like Cinderella etc.,
- Take things apart to see what they look like inside
- Seeing models of how things work
- Creating objects with their own hands
- Going to museums to see various exhibits
Helping children with spatial intelligence learn
For children with spatial intelligence, visualization, a wide variety of objects and triggering the imagination are the best pathways to help them learn.
- Get them books which use pictures more than words
- When reading them books, refer to the picture often and let them associate your words with the pictures shown
- Give them a visually stimulating environment where things are within their sight and reach.
- Give them a lot of physical objects to play with, clay, paper, balls, blocks etc.,
- Give them access to a diverse set of materials that can be put together to create whatever they visualize.
- "Paint a picture" for them is an apt expression. Help them imagine the environment or the objects in their mind as they read or learn about them.
- When explaining things to them, take a piece of paper and draw on it to show them rather than using words.
- Use a lot of gestures when you describe things - tall, short, happy, sad etc.,
- As you are riding in your bike or car, point out various things to them so they can immediately capture a picture of it in their minds
Toys and materials that you should have for children with spatial intelligence
- Blocks (like a bucket of legos)
- Crayons, pens, pencils
- Geometry sets
- Glue/gum, scissors
- Paper - for drawing
- Chart paper - thicker paper for bending and making into shapes
- Picture books
- Games like Pictionary
- Objects of all kinds, in other words a lot of toys - from doctor's kits, to planes, and cars, to model houses, these kids need to see things. So get them access to as many different things as possible.
- Camera (for older kids)
Examples of how to teach various topics to children with spatial intelligence
- To teach addition and subtraction use objects like toothpicks or plastic coins that they can move around and count.
- To teach them dimensions (length, width, area, volumes), pick up an everyday object and show them which is which.
- When learning equations, help them visualize the numbers or variables as objects. If they are calculating the square of a number "x", tell them to visualize that there "x" trees in a row. Then tell them to think that the walk past that row of trees and another row of trees appears. When they walk past "x" such rows, they will have seen "x-square" trees.
- Imagine and draw new things that could be invented in the future
- Create a collage of plants and animal pictures
- Take a walk in a park and point out and discuss the various trees and plants and birds
- Help your child make simple experiments to understand various concepts. To illustrate the concept of density, show them how an egg sinks in plain water but as you add salt to the water, the density changes and the egg starts rising to the surface and finally floats
- Help them build a model of a mountain using cardboard, paper, different colors, clay etc., complete with rocks, trees and vegetation
- Make clay or cardboard models of various historical monuments
- Let them draw a large world map and stick it on a wall near their desk at home
- Paint old historical scenes
- Make clay or paper models of various tools used by ancient civilizations
- See pictures of sculptures, paintings and statues from history