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 video

fill it up from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Fill It Up-1 from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

  • Some background music (without vocals if possible)
  • Containers
  • Props to fill containers


One to two weeks

How it works

Babies and children are given a range of different props and various sized containers and are encouraged fill them up.

What to do in the class

Give parents a range of different sized containers and different objects and ask them to fill them with their child (it doesn’t matter if the baby needs help to do the picking up or putting in as it’s not about hand or finger control but about learning how objects take up space). Encourage the parents to ask can we get more in, let’s fit in another. With older children encourage the parents to ask how many of the objects the child thinks it will take to fill up the container. Even if they can’t count and give a number, they could take and put into a pile the amount of objects they think it might take and see if they were right. This is excellent for developing spatial awareness in older children as it asks them to make an assessment about the space and then test that judgement and improve their estimating skills.

Possible containers/objects to use

  • Ice cream tubs – bean bags, wooden blocks, duplo bricks of different shapes, ping pong balls, cotton reels, pegs
  • Small buckets – bean bags, ball pit balls, claves,
  • Small boxes like small spread boxes – scarves, ribbons, large pasta shapes

Adaptations for younger babies

Smaller babies can do the exercise as tummy time using the props and the action of the parent putting things into the container to encourage the baby to hold their head up and watch.

What to do in a nursery setting

Have the containers and props spread around the floor, work in a circle encouraging the carers to work for a short time with each baby.