Babies Walkers to 2 2s to 3s 3s to 4s

Overview and benefit

Spatial awareness is the ability to see the position of two or more objects in relation to each other and to oneself in space – to understand how much space an object takes up and how it can fit with another object, either on or in or next to etc. Children need to understand about size and shape and weight and to be able to make some comparisons between objects. The best way for children to learn this is through experience of handling objects and putting objects together. Good small spatial awareness is needed to handle objects and tools successfully and has even been linked to reading and numeracy. Spatial awareness in general is needed for good organisation skills, presentation skills and even in structuring written work.

Training videos

Bumper Cars from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

bumper cars2 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

  • Steering wheels (paper plates, or quoits, or frisbees), cones, hoops,


  • One or two weeks

How it works

Children ‘drive’ around the hall negotiating common road obstacles. The idea behind this version of ‘Bumper Cars’ is to use their spatial awareness NOT to bump into anything or anyone!

What to do in the class

Give each child and parent a paper plate. Pretend that they are steering wheels. Explain that they are all going to pretend to drive their cars and get children to travel around the hall (in the same direction) driving their cars. Remind the children that they must not crash into anyone else when they drive and they must look out for the traffic lights and stop when the red light it showing. The instructor has 2 paper plates – one painted green and one red. As children drive past the instructor hold up the green plate. But when they swap and hold up the red plate the children have to stop driving and stand still until the green plate is shown again. Place some cones in pairs around the hall for the children to drive through, varying the width of the ‘gates’ and place some large hula hoops on the floor for children to drive like roundabouts.

What to do in a nursery setting

No adaptation needed for a nursery settings, but the children must be in sufficient space to be able to move around the room.


A circuit set out in a figure of eight works well. Place two hoops at either end and direct the ‘traffic flow’ with arrows blue tacked to the floor or rubber foot prints if you have them in a figure of eight around the roundabouts. Children have to learn to give way at the middle of the ‘eight’ so position an adult there to help direct the traffic.

If you are using traffic lights, stop the music when they turn red to help ensure the children stop!

Good pieces of background music:

  • Driving in my car – Madness
  • Driving along in my auto mobile – Chuck Berry
  • Driving in my car car – MAD Academy