Research shows that children who have a firm grasp on spatial relationships are more likely to succeed in STEM fields. While children naturally develop strong spatial reasoning skills, these skills can be bolstered by parents and teachers.
This article from KQED Mind/Shift provides suggestions of activities that spur on thinking about spatial ideas. For instance, working with simple maps can allow children to conceptualize their surroundings in a new way. An example of this can be seen in this video from our Focus on the Lesson series, in which preschool students navigate their classroom and make maps of the path they took.
Parents might also consider downloading a Geocache app, which uses a smartphone’s GPS capabilities to pinpoint hidden objects in the real world. This provides children a unique way to use maps outside of the classroom.
The article also suggests using books with strong connections to spatial ideas. Books without words can be particularly useful in this respect, to readers and pre-readers both, as they require concentration on images, rather than language, to discern meaning from the pages.