To recap, language concepts are developmental vocabulary words/ideas that build a foundation to support complex language ideas. These concepts are functional - meaning, we use them to share and understand information every day.
Today, we jump into the world of spatial concepts - the idea of where something is in relationship to something else.
I'm going to give you a comprehensive list of basic spatial concepts at the end of the article. First, we'll focus on simple ways to expand your child's awareness and use of these specific concepts.
Does your child eat his/her ice cream before or after the dinner meal?
Do they stay next to or far away from you during your trip to the zoo?
Ah! We use spatial concepts in our communication all the time. Understanding those concepts is critical - and perhaps saves a parent from an unwanted headache...or an evening cleaning up mud!
Oh so many ways! Let's focus on 4.
1. Playtime - Whether it's a doll house or a train track, small play items can go on, between, through, around, next to...and every where else.
-Talk about what you're doing - "The caboose is going under the bridge."
-Talk about what your child is doing - "Put the doggie beside the doll."
-Play hide-and-seek w/ toys- "Where is the teddy bear? ...He's on top of the books."
2. Clean Up/Chores - It's never too early to teach basic spatial concepts, and it's never too early to learn responsibilities around the house! So, accomplish both at the same time.
-Books/toys can be lined up, go together, be put behind, under, in, on or to the left/right.
-Sweeping or vacuuming happens around, in between, by, forward, backward, in front of, in back of.
-Picking weeds or picking up leaves can include beside, behind, corner, separate, middle.
3. Picture Books - Every spatial concept can be introduced or reinforced in the reading of picture books w/ your child. Illustrations provide multiple opportunities to talk about where the characters are in a story and what they're doing.
-Ask your child what he/she would do at fun moments in the story if they were one of the characters.
-Ask your child to predict where the character or object of interest might be before you turn the page.
-Do a fun craft or art follow-up activity w/ the book. Model and listen for spatial concepts.
4. Getting Dressed - A perfect time for everyday teaching of spatial concepts.
-Clothing goes feet first, above, between, down, over, under and sometimes (accidentally) upside down.
-Ask your child as they're learning to dress themselves where/how a piece of clothing goes on.
-Help them put their clothes on the wrong way - and see if they'll correct you!
Here is the list of beginning spatial concepts:
in / into
near / nearby
Check out these videos for a couple of simple examples on how encourage spatial concepts:
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