spatial thinking: 4 Articles

Change Can Be Good

Camilla the cartographer and her loyal sidekick, Parsley, are back to solve a fresh new problem in Camilla and the Big Change by Julie Dillemuth, PhD, a companion book to the critically acclaimed Camilla, Cartographer. When beavers make a dam that changes the path of the river, Camilla has to help make new maps and learn that change can be a good thing. Read an adapted excerpt from Dr. Dillemuth’s note to parents and caregivers with more information about coping with change and spatial awareness. Coping with change When coping with change, we often feel a range of feelings. Naming and acknowledging feelings is helpful during this process of adapting to change, as is knowing that these big feelings won’t last forever. Kids need to know that feelings change over time, and that it’s ok to have mixed feelings–to feel sad for something going away, but excited for a new thing about to happen. The whole range of feelings is valid. Try this: Camilla goes through a range of emotions in the book. With your child, go through the book and identify Camilla’s feelings from page to page, why she might feel that way, and how those feelings change as things happen. Take it further: Use this story to talk about a change in your child’s life. A change can be as minor as having a substitute teacher (which can be major to a child), or as big as a move or loss. Gently encourage your child to tell their story–what happened? What were their feelings? What did they do? What did they want to do? Your child may want to draw pictures or write out a story. Spatial thinking Spatial thinking encompasses a range of skills for how we think about and understand the world around us and use concepts of space for problem solving. Some spatial thinking skills we practice every day and others are critical for working in STEAM fields:  science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. By encouraging your child to think spatially from a young age, you are helping the development of these skills and laying foundations that will be built upon as your child grows and learns. Try this: With your child, talk about the maps Camilla and the beavers drew. Talk about how they worked together to create the pond safely, so that no animals living in the forest would be harmed. How did they know which animals would need to be moved to avoid being flooded? Take it further:  Your child can explore spatial relationships at home. Pick a room in your house and talk about rearranging the furniture. What if we moved the bed across the room? What if we turned the couch 90 degrees? Try moving things around for fun and encourage your child to make discoveries–what doesn’t fit? What things go together? Where is empty space important? Try to use lots of spatial language like next to, in front of, between, to the left, behind, etc. If your child

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Change Can Be Good 2022-03-17T00:16:58-04:00

Mapping My Day

Sometimes I go amazing places in my dreams. I'll draw a map of them for you...tomorrow. Kids love maps! Learning to read and draw maps is a fun and natural way to develop spatial thinking skills — how we think about and understand the world around us and use concepts of space for problem solving. Listen as Mapping My Day author, Julie Dillemuth, PhD, reads her book aloud. Follow Flora and her family as she takes us through her day with maps — from breakfast, to school, and even through a dog agility course!

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Mapping My Day 2022-03-17T00:09:55-04:00

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