Spatial awareness is the ability to see and understand two or more objects in relation to each other and to one’s body in terms of space and distance. It also involves an understanding of the relationship of objects when there is a change in position, including when an object is rotated.
The key to developing spatial awareness is to have adequate awareness of the body, relative to other objects and / or people. For example, when a child reaches for a toy, she or he must learn how far to stretch the muscles in the arms to reach that toy. Over time, the child is able to reach for objects automatically and with accuracy. Spatial awareness is an important part of overall perception, including depth perception. Development of perception can be difficult for children with DCD (development co-ordination disorder), autism, cerebral palsy and similar conditions.
Spatial awareness is a complex cognitive skill that children must develop at an early stage in brain development, and can be improved (including in those with difficulties). It is a skill that is learned and developed through play, particularly with 3D objects such as Magformers, as opposed to 2D screens such as TV, tablets, smart phones and computers, which, whilst useful, will not assist the child to develop vital skills such as spatial awareness and rotation.