Improve Your Kid’s Spatial Reasoning Skills with These 4 Apps

Spatial reasoning is an often overlooked skill that’s vital to develop in kids; we found some quality apps that can help.

Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize shapes and objects in different ways and draw conclusions about those shapes. It’s this strong ability that architects use when designing a building or that a sculptor uses when planning a design. This skill is often overlooked in traditional schooling but is a vital skill to develop. Children with well-developed spatial reasoning skills often perform better at STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) tasks. The following apps  help develop these skills, but it is equally important for early learners to play with hands-on objects such as blocks, puzzles, tangrams, or pattern blocks to develop these skills.

 

Spatial Reasoning App Reviews

 

Dragon Shapes Lumio Geometry Challenge (iOS only)

lumio

 

This app walks children through an introduction to shapes through tangram puzzles. As they are presented with a puzzle, a sidebar introduces them to the shape and distinguishing features about the shape.  The shapes include triangles, squares, rectangles, hexagons, trapezoids, pentagons, and rhombi. As children solve the puzzles, the ideas that shapes can form larger composite shapes or designs is reinforced. The shapes in the app are able to be manipulated and turned fairly easily. There are four levels of game play in the app, and there is a storyline involving the rescue of the village dragon that is developed through completion of each level. The app costs $2.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Montessori Geometry – Recognize and learn shapes (iOS only)

Montessori Geometry

 

Montessori Geometry is filled with games, free exploration activities, and other learning gems in the traditional teaching style of Maria Montessori. There are games for playing with shapes, learning activities that connect kids to seeing shapes in the “real world,” and a dynamic 3D exploration activity for kids to rotate and interact with every side of the shape. The app presents the formal language for all of the shapes so you won’t just hear the words circle and triangle but also the specific technical terms, such as scalene triangle. The games are in the classic Montessori style, so kids are able to use self-correction and move from activity to activity. There is also a point tracking feature where kids can earn medals while they are playing. The app costs $3.99 and is available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Cyberchase 3D Builder (iOS, Android, and Kindle)

Cyberchase 3D Builder

 

In Cyberchase 3D Builder, encourages kids use flat 2D shapes to build 3D structures. There are eight levels of play to keep kids interested and really amp up the difficulty. The app strength is in developing the relationship between flat and 3D shapes. The app does provide prompts as the levels increase in difficulty for children who may need assistance. Overall the app is a fun experience where kids won’t even realize they are learning. The app is free and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Tangram for Osmo (iOS only)

osmo tangram

 

The Osmo tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Download the free Osmo tangram app to get started. Osmo offers a nice Getting Started section to familiarize your child with the use of the pieces and their interaction with the screen. The child must arrange the tangram pieces to match the on-screen arrangement. The Osmo system detects the tangram pieces to check to see if they match the shapes on the screen. While constructing the pictures, your child is developing important visual spatial skills. After your child completes the Getting Started section, the app offers different pictures for your child to choose from and construct with the tangram pieces. The app also indicates the level of the pictures from easiest to hardest by color-coding them yellow, orange, and red. The yellow puzzles offer color clues, and the orange puzzles offer black-and-white shapes. The app does offer a hint button if needed to complete the puzzles. The hardest level offers just one solid black outline. Arranging the tangram pieces is challenging, engaging, and also fun to complete with a friend.

 

Check out more apps that develop spatial reasoning skills here.

 

Download the most popular guide to finding and using educational apps for kids!



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The Benefits of Self-Correction and the Montessori Method | Guest Post

In this blog post, I would like to address the importance of self-correction in the Montessori Method.

In this blog post, I would like to address the importance of self-correction in the Montessori Method.

One of Maria Montessori’s conclusions following her hours of observation in schools was that learning comes through experience. Being the first woman Doctor in Italy and having started her career with deficient children, she developed a set of scientifically designed materials to teach children a variety of concepts. Still in use today in Montessori schools, each material follows a set of criteria:

 

• Beautiful
• Simple
• Serves a purpose
• Self-corrective

 

Self-correction in Montessori schools is not only linked to the material. Everything in the classroom (called “environment”) has to reveal children and adults’ errors for them to learn. For instance, plastic is not used for cups and plates; only real china will allow children to realize that it breaks if dropped on the floor.

 

Another key concept in the Montessori Method is autonomy. When kids arrive in a Montessori preschool, they are usually 2½-3 years old and their level of autonomy is low. Montessori teachers’ aim will be to make them as independent as possible before they leave the first 3-year cycle.

 

The material designed by Montessori plays a big part in this objective; it is on display, at children’s height, for them to choose from, giving them freedom of choice and action in the classroom. This freedom is always supervised and guided by the teacher but children are not dependent on the adult, which provides them great satisfaction and builds their self-confidence.

 

Children use the material on their own so, to ensure that they learn from their experiences, self-correction is a crucial characteristic. They learn even more as they understand/deduct by themselves that they’ve made a mistake and the material gently leads them to find the correction.

 

How Does Self-Correction Work in a Montessori App?

 

First of all, Montessori apps should not have “uh oh”, “no,no,no” or “buzz” sounds when children make mistakes. Not only are these kinds of feedbacks unproductive (given by adults) but worse, they might scare off children and stop them from trying again.

 

In Montessori Numberland, the spindle (they look like little sticks) material, found in the “Count” section and when learning about number 0, is made of 45 wooden sticks and 10 boxes numbered from 0 to 9. The child is asked to “put the right number of spindles in each box”. If the child drags a 6th spindle in the 5 box, the spindle gently goes back in the middle. If there are spindles left in the middle when the child is done, he will have to count all the boxes to find the ones where spindles are missing.

 

 

In Montessori Letter Sounds, the last game is “sound it out”. A picture appears and the child has to drag the sounds he hears to spell the word. If a letter that is not in the word is dragged, it goes back to its place. The child understands and tries another letter.

 

 

Valérie holds a Bachelor in Business Administration from Université du Québec à Montréal and a Masters degree from Lyon Business School. After the birth of her first child (she’s mom to 4 children), she made a career shift and became a Montessori teacher. In 2010, with the upcoming arrival of the iPad, Valérie and two of her friends set up a company called Edoki Academy with the objective to offer quality Montessori-based apps.

 

Find more reviews of Montessori-based educational apps here.

 

Download the most popular guide to finding and using educational apps for kids!



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