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

hide and seek from MAD Academy on Vimeo.

Equipment required

  • Small props to hide (a small duplo brick, a ping pong ball, a plastic animal)
  • Three plastic cups for each child


Two to three weeks

How it works

Parents and children play at hiding the ball under the cups.

What to do in the class

With the children sitting in a large circle, first demonstrate the activity to the whole class. Line up 3 cups upturned in front of you. Show children the ball and make it obvious which cup you are putting it under. Ask which cup the ball is hiding under. Perhaps ask a child to come up and reveal it. Do it a couple of more times, starting to move the cup, just so parents get the idea of what they are to do.

Now give each child and parent 3 plastic cups and a small object such as a ball. The parent and child play together taking it in turns to hide the ball under one of the cups and then find it. Start with the parent hiding the ball and asking the child to find it without moving the cups, then start moving them.

Adaptations for older/younger children

For older children this activity can be extended by making the moving of the cups quicker so it’s harder for them to follow. Or see if they can move the cups and fool their parents!

What to do in a nursery setting

Either lead this activity from the front with the children all around you guessing where the ball might be. Alternatively divide the class into smaller groups and have the nursery staff leading each group.