Part III: Spatial Relations

For the last couple weeks we have been talking about Perceptual Skills. I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am. Today we are going to blog about Spatial Relations. I found a great website by Michelle Pratt, who is an Occupational Therapist. I loved her website because she gave fun activities to improve each Perceptual Skill. Here is her take on Spatial Relations:

Visual Spatial Relations

Visual Spatial perception provides us with information about our environment. The way a child perceives space and their position or orientation within that space can affect their gross motor skills and classroom performance. It is the ability to distinguish differences among similar objects or forms. This skill helps children in understanding relationships and recognizing underlying concepts. This area is closely related to the problem solving and conceptual skills required for higher level science and math.

Visual Spatial Orientation– helps us with letter reversals. The most common cause of reversals in older children is a lack of visual spatial development–consistently knowing left from right, either in relationship to their own bodies or in the world around them. Children with poor visual processing have not developed adequate skills in visual perception and spatial orientation, such as laterality and directionality.


Is the ability to understand and interpret relationships:

a. Between oneself and other people. E.g. Stand behind Mommy

b. Between oneself and other objects. E.g. put the chair beside Daddy

c. Objects in relation to other objects. E.g. put the brick in the box.

A child with visual spatial problems may have difficulty with:

1. Interpreting instructions. E.g. write your name at the top of the page.

2. Dressing. Putting garments on up side down or being unable to turn them the right way round.

3. Correctly positioning equipment, such as utensils at meal times.

4. Moving themselves in space. In PE games or when doing gymnastics or obstacle courses.

5. Tracking mazes.

6. Copying patterns or Lego models.

7. Producing 3D drawings E.g. Houses, boxes or cubes.

8. Setting out work on a page, particularly mathematical problems or diagrams.

9. Labeling diagrams.

Activities to help

Activities for yourself and one other person or a group1. Simon Says
2. Leapfrog
3. Crawl under someone’s legs
4. Stand beside the tallest person
5. Cat and mouse games
6. Arrange people to make shapes
7. Obstacle courses
8. Hopscotch
9. Games with hoops, beanbags and boxes.
10. Setting a table
11. Board games e.g. Othello, chess, etc.
12 Craft activities e.g. collage, origami
13. Construction games e.g. Lego, building a railway track or fort.

Copying Activities

Activities requiring copying 3D to 3D

1. Construction toys e.g. Lego
2. Multi link
3. Peg patterns

4. Patterns with objects using different shapes, sizes and colors.


Activities requiring copying 2D to 3D
In these the child makes the model from copying a card, picture or photograph.

1. Block or peg patterns
2. Model making from pictorial instructions e.g. Lego, K’nex
3. Following a recipe when cooking
4. Origami, copying diagrams in a book.

Activities requiring copying 2D to 2D
1. Copying a picture
2. Copying from the whiteboard
3. Constructing a drawing.
The above activities are great in more ways than one. We all know I love hands on activities more than electronics! Give some of these activities a try and next week we will talk about Form Constancy! Have a great weekend!