This post is sponsored by Growing IQ.
We’re hearing a lot about the importance of STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics).
Parents of children know that early math and science skills are every bit as important as literacy skills. But while it’s easy to pick up a book and read a story, it’s harder to figure out how to incorporate math and science into conversations that we have every day with our children – at least at first.
A related important skill that can easily be reinforced during daily routines is spatial awareness, as Uma Mohan of Growing IQ in Frisco encourages her clients to remember.
What is spatial awareness?
Spatial awareness involves things like a sense of an object’s shape and size, the space an object occupies, and the space between things. Children naturally develop this as they play and interact, but parents can also provide opportunities to help the development of spatial awareness flourish.
Fall Festivals and Halloween traditions actually provide a fantastic opportunity to help children develop spatial awareness. Navigating crowds, directions, reaching into bowls for candy, and sorting candy-stuffed bags all involve spatial awareness.
So here are some specific ways to encourage spatial awareness during your trick-or-treating (or other fall festivities) this year:
Reinforcing a sense of direction is an important part of spatial awareness. Using terms like “left,” “right,” “further,” “closer,” “near,” and “far” are important, so while you and your children are out and about gathering candy in costumes, try to use these terms frequently. Even very young children can quickly grasp basic directional concepts.
Encouraging kids to follow lines or walk along boundaries is a crucial part of spatial awareness. This is the part of partial awareness that helps children with hand-eye coordination and ultimately helps protect them from tripping constantly, falling, or running into things.
Questions like “Who can walk along the curb without stepping into the street or the grass?” can spark awareness-building activities (and friendly competition!). Other helpful activities that help include some of these ideas:
- Jumping over cracks in the pavement.
- Hopping on one foot for a specified distance.
- Walking sideways between stops at houses.
Talking about Candy
All of that sugary loot that drives parents crazy after trick-or-treating? Use it to help your kids learn! Talk about the candy with very young children with questions like “Which is biggest?” “Which is smallest?”
Encourage older children (and create a fun competition) by asking them to turn their candy into pictures – “Who can make a house with theirs? A beach? A boat?” The sense of seeing objects as shapes and then using those shapes to build other objects is a key part of spatial awareness and an important developmental milestone.
The Importance of STEAM Learning
Early STEAM-reinforcing activities are every bit as crucial as reading to your children, as Mohan urges parents daily.
Want to encourage your children to develop those critical STEAM skills early in a more regular, intentional way? Growing IQ has developed a unique activity-and-inquiry-based curriculum to help children as young as 3 develop spatial awareness, critical thinking, and lots of other skills tied to success in math.
As a parent herself, she’s acutely aware of the importance of constantly reinforcing concepts during daily routines like trick-or-treating. Mohan reminds parents,
When children are introduced to the ‘STEM’ based activities early on, they will start to evolve as critical thinkers, problem solvers and communicate with confidence in any given situation.
Curious? You should be! Drop by Growing IQ this week to check out their unique learning environment, their fantastic curriculum, and their wealth of opportunities for learning.