Mathematically, the areas of shape and space are about developing visualising skills and understanding relationships, such as the effects of movement and combining shapes together, rather than just knowing vocabulary. Spatial skills are important for understanding other areas of maths and children need structured experiences to ensure they develop these.
- Developing spatial awareness: experiencing different viewpoints. Children need opportunities to move both themselves and objects around, so they see things from different perspectives. This will support them in visualising how things will appear when turned around and imagining how things might fit together.
- Developing spatial vocabulary - use the language of position: in, on, under and of direction: up, down, across and language of viewpoint: in front of, behind, forwards, backwards.
- Representing spatial awareness.
- Shape awareness: develop shape awareness through construction. This is developed through play, particularly construction.
- Identifying similarities between shapes - again this is particularly developed through play and construction where children are encouraged to think carefully about their choice of shapes to create a representation of something they see in their everyday World.
- Showing awareness of properties of shapes using increasingly accurate vocabulary including: sides, straight, curved/curvy, round, point, corner, equal, the same, opposite sides, 2-d, 3-d, pointy corners/vertices.
- Describing properties of shapes: ensure rectangles and triangles are represented in different ways to ensure that children recognise these from a very early age.
- Developing an awareness of relationships between shapes. This involves being able to spot shapes within shapes.
Things do can do at home to support your child in this area:
- Make constructions, patterns and pictures, and select shapes which will fit when rotated or flipped in insert boards, shape sorters and jigsaws.
- Ride trikes around interesting routes.
- Print and make pictures and patterns with shapes.
- Make a complete circuit with a train track.
- Direct a simple robot or remote-controlled toy vehicle along a route.
- Tangrams: 'Can you make a person with the shapes?'
- Create an obstacle course around your house/garden and give directions to a friend.
- Hunt for hidden objects/treasure by following clues e.g. it's behind the chair, it's under the box etc.
- Listen to/act out stories that involve going on a journey e.g We're Going On A Bear Hunt, Little Red Riding Hood etc.
- Allow your children the opportunity to create with construction equipment and question: What have you made? What shapes have you used? Why did you use these shapes?
- Make shapes from natural objects e.g. pebbles, sticks, their own bodies etc.
USEFUL ONLINE RESOURCES TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD: