The ability to navigate in space is one of the most important human skills. The task of moms and dads is to make life easier for their child and to introduce him as early as possible to important concepts that will certainly come in handy in the future. The school year is about to come, and therefore it is important for all parents that the child does not get lost — neither in the city, nor at school.
3-4 years is the best period for the first acquaintance of the baby with the most elementary spatial concepts. With their help, the child will be able to indicate the direction around him. For example, what is in front, below, above, below, on the side.
It is optimal to start teaching the child spatial orientation in everyday affairs. For example, in the process of dressing: “Put the mitten on your left hand first, and then on your right”, “Take off the right sneaker first, and then the left one.”
The most important thing is to first help to understand the space relative to your body. In particular, on which side the baby has the right leg, right arm, right ear, and on which side the left parts of the body. Where is his lower half of the body, and where is the upper. What does «put on from below» and «put on from above» mean? When the baby has mastered these concepts on himself, you can move on to the surrounding objects. For example, a lantern is on the left, a house is on the right, a cat is below, the sun is above.
The child will memorize the above concepts faster if the parent himself comments on them, for example, during morning exercises: “Let’s raise the left leg up, lower it down. Take your hand to the left and raise it up. Let’s reach with the left elbow to the right knee.
You can also play the traffic controller with the kids: make an obstacle course, a road for cars and arrange a passage through an impromptu city so that the child comments on each action: “We drive to the right, we drive to the left.” You can also play a guessing game: “What is this object to your left, next to the photo?”
At this age, the task becomes more complicated for the child. It is necessary to teach him to navigate in a moving space (go right / left, forward / backward), determine the location of objects relative to himself: “The book is to my right”, “A car is driving in front of me”.
In the same age interval, the child can be introduced to the relationship of objects and objects in space. Namely, with such concepts as «far» and «close». It is useful to do this in practice, pointing to various objects in the house or on the street and asking questions: “Is that tree over there far or close to us? And what is farther from us — is it a tree or that house over there? What flowers grow close to our house? What friend of yours lives far away from our school?”
Also at this age it is recommended to reinforce already mastered concepts: right-left, side by side, top-bottom, side, front-back. It is convenient to do this with the help of improvised materials and books. You can place objects in front of the child in a random order and ask where and what lies: “The cube is next to the teddy bear, the sticker is above the button, and the button is to the right of the pencil.” Items can be changed in a different sequence, thereby reinforcing the child’s simple orientation skill.
It will be useful to work out this skill on household members: “Grandma is standing behind me”, “Dad is standing to the right of grandfather”, “Snow leopard lies at the top, on the chest of drawers, to the left of the flower pot.”
Senior preschool age is the time of primary knowledge about building a route. Moms and dads can teach the future student to move on the street in a given direction: forward, backward, right, left. This is especially useful if you look at the index signs. So the child will be able to master the signs of underground and overhead crossings, zebras, traffic lights — something that will come in handy later. Thus, the child will be able to make a route from home to the garden or school or from the store — this is an excellent practice of spatial orientation.
7 years and older
6-7 years old is an excellent age for developing children’s spatial modeling skills. Well, graphic dictations on sheets in a box help with this: “The starting point is two cells to the right and 5 cells down. Then we draw lines: one cell to the right, two cells down, five cells to the right, four cells down, seven cells to the left. Hint: it will be more interesting if at the end of such a dictation you get an elephant or a car.
In modern bookstores, you can find many manuals and workbooks with similar dictations, where the child, connecting the cells correctly, receives some images: houses, a doll, a teddy bear.
At primary school age, the child already has the elementary skills of building schematic maps. This also allows you to develop spatial orientation: you can ask the child to draw a plan of the apartment, his own room, or graphically depict the route from school / kindergarten to home.
A variety of games will help to consolidate the skills of the child. For example, home, country or street quests: the parent hides the prize and gives the child the task to find it using the map (two steps to the right, five steps forward, two steps to the left, from below under the sink, behind the sofa, above the shelf with books, etc.).