at home activities with kids: 1 Article

Magination Press Learning at Home: Spatial Thinking with Lucy in the City

Without access to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents find themselves looking for ways to support their child’s learning at home and to find creative and engaging activities. Magination Press book, Lucy in the City: A Story About Developing Spatial Thinking Skills by Julie Dillemuth PhD, offers both! This adapted excerpt from the Lucy in the City explains some different kinds of spatial thinking and offers fun ways for kids to practice them. Think about a trip you have made often—perhaps to your child’s school, your workplace, or a store. How did you get there? You probably have some sort of mental picture of the route you took and what you saw along the way. When we navigate, we search our “mental map” of an area to figure out where to go. Young children are just starting to develop this ability, as well as other important spatial thinking skills. Exposure to spatial concepts can help foster a young child’s development of spatial thinking skills, and practice can help improve these skills at any age! Spatial thinking is how we think about and understand the world around us, and concepts of space for problem solving. Thinking analytically about spatial relationships is something adults do every day—by navigating somewhere, putting dishes away in a kitchen cabinet, or playing sports, for example. Grown-ups often take these skills for granted because we use them every day, but young children need to develop these skills. How Lucy in the City can help: Lucy in the City tells the story of a raccoon who, distracted by a jar of peanut butter, becomes separated from her family one night and must figure out how to find her way home. The story explores three fundamental spatial themes: Retracing one’s steps. In the story, Lucy discovers how to retrace her steps when she needs to find her way home. Kids might use this strategy to find a toy or other object they lost somewhere in the house.  Try this with your child at home. Hide an object in the house. Then have your child walk with you as you direct them from where they are to where they can find the object. Think out loud, describing your movements and things in your home that can be landmarks. Use spatial language such as on, above, below, near, next to, and between.“First we need to walk across your bedroom to the door. Then we need to go down the hall to the kitchen. Let’s look in the cabinet next to the oven. There’s the toy! It’s on the shelf above the pots and pans!” If your child is old enough, have them hide an object and describe to you how to find it. This exercises your child’s spatial memory (remembering where things are)  and develops their spatial language vocabulary. Interpreting a map. What makes a map such a powerful tool is that you can see a larger area than what you see from the ground. Looking at a map adds to your mental

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Magination Press Learning at Home: Spatial Thinking with Lucy in the City 2022-03-17T00:11:54-04:00