Activities on Spatial Relationships and Concepts for Kindergarten
Spatial relationships are a foundational prerequisite for almost every lesson a student will learn. Without understanding relative positions and shapes of things in his world, no child can ever grasp more advanced concepts like letters and numbers, or the math, language and science skills that follow. Given the crucial nature of this skill set, it is fortunate that well-chosen activities can encourage kindergarten students to pursue learning while they play.
1 Magic Mountain
Create a laminated poster board with a cartoon magic mountain on it. The mountain picture needs to include an image of a cave and a tunnel underneath. Additionally, you need to have enough laminated animal figures for each student and something to make them stick to the poster -- a little spot of crafting dough will do the job. You describe the visits each character makes to the mountain -- "above," "under," "inside" -- and have the students place their figures appropriately.
2 Block Town
Groups of students can build a collection of simple structures, like houses and shops, with Duplo-style blocks. Offer instructions for the project that require understanding of spatial relations, such as "put a window above the door" or "build a door on the back." When everyone's works are complete, have them move their homes into a group called "Block Town." During this part of construction, use location-specific directions such as "close" or "far."
3 Shape Shifting
Collect a few dozen laminated shapes, including rectangles and triangles with varying sizes and angles and circles and squares of varied sizes. You'll also need a huge laminated board to put the pieces on. Assemble the shapes into a picture of people and things, and use dry erase markers for details, such as faces on the circles. Have the students remove one type of shape from the picture at a time until it is gone.
4 Happy Triangle
A story game similar to Magic Mountain requires laminated cutouts of various shapes, sizes and colors for each student and a storyboard with a fun scene, such as space or a castle. You describe the story of the happy triangle as he wanders about saying things like "he was joined by the small red circle on top of the moon," and have each student add the right shape to the right place.