Spatial Intelligence

Welcome back as we continue our journey through Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and how it is used on the preschool playground.  This week, at the suggestion of one of our Facebook fans, I will discuss spatial intelligence.

Spatial intelligence involves interacting with the different spaces around us and being able to look at things from different perspectives. On the preschool playground, it is important to have both wide open spaces for running and tumbling and smaller spaces for individual exploration.  Both types of spaces help children learn about interacting with their environment and with other children.

On The Playground

On the preschool playground, you can help children develop their spatial understanding with many types of activities.  Activities where children follow maps, copy actions (as with Follow the Leader), or imagine what things look like from a different perspective help with spatial awareness.  Play a game where you ask the children:  What would the outdoor drum look like if you were standing on the other side?  Can you draw a map of the climber (Where would the slide go? The steps?)?  Will all of these rocks fit in this truck?  How many steps will it take to get to the slide?  Can you copy my movements?  What path do you think the ball/sand/water is about to take on the tracking panel?

See our tracking panel and return to our blog next week to find out what we learned from NAEYC’s Q&A session about young children and nature.


Newcombe, Nora, and Andrea Frick.  “Early Education for Spatial Intelligence:  Why, What, and How.”  Mind, Brain, and Education. International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and Blackwell Publishing, Inc (2010): Vol. 4, Number 3.

Picture Source: