May 08, 2020

Develop Spatial Thinking Using PuzzlesTwo girls putting together a puzzle at a table

It’s time to take an age-old hobby and consider it through a whole new lens! Putting together puzzles is a fantastic way for students to build spatial thinking. Spatial thinking is an important geometric skill that finds meaning in shape, orientation, location, direction, and relative position of objects.

While some claim you either have it or you don’t, you can practice and develop spatial thinking - one way to do that is to put together a puzzle! Putting together a puzzle causes us to attend to the characteristics of shapes, angles, and orientation in a fun and engaging way and keeps us entertained for hours.

And why not take it up a notch by creating your puzzles? This post from the Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative will take you step-by-step through crafting your puzzles using everyday images you can find in your household. With a little glue, a pair of scissors, and a whole lot of creativity, you and your child can be puzzling your way through spatial thinking skills in no time!

Are you looking for something a little less low-tech? There are some great apps for doing virtual puzzles in the App Store or on Google Play (and some are free). The plethora of choices offers your child the opportunity to adjust the level of challenge based on their age or skill level. Using an app might be an excellent option for some of your more advanced puzzlers.

Becky Thorson, GWAEA Math Consultant