What Is Spatial Intelligence?

As a parent trying to discover your kid's skills and characteristics, you are probably looking for a spatial intelligence definition online. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), spatial intelligence, also known as visual spatial intelligence, is the capability of mentally manipulating objects in space and imagining them in different locations and positions.

what is visual spatial intelligence

If you are wondering, “What is spatial intelligence?” and want to learn about your kid's spatial skills, then you are in the right place. In this blog, we’ve aimed to explain visual spatial intelligence or spatial awareness, which is one of the most important types of intelligence according to the Theory of Multiple Intelligences that Howard Gardner conducted.

Along with visual-spatial intelligence, Howard Gardner includes nine types of intelligence in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences:

Intelligence helps the human body solve problems and be intact with the world around them. So this theory explains which skills and abilities humans use to solve problems in accordance with their intelligence types.

While every type of intelligence includes specific skills and abilities, spatial visual intelligence skills overlap with all the other intelligence types in some way.

Visual-Spatial Intelligence Test

As visual-spatial intelligence skills are valuable in many real-world situations and can be improved with practice, it is essential to take a spatial intelligence test or an aptitude test to discover someone’s potential. In addition to that, you can test your kid’s or your own spatial intelligence with self-taken games designed to test visual and perceptual abilities with shapes, objects, and puzzles.

Spot the Difference

Spot the Difference

How strong your visual attention, scanning and comparison skills? Let’s test it with one of the best spatial intelligence exercises.

Candy Match

Candy Match

High visual intelligence requires using visual attention and counting skills at the same time! Challenge yourself now.

Messy Room

Messy Room

Are you ready for a hard task? You must tidy this room up by finding the hidden objects. Trust your visual attention skills and do your best!

Have I Seen It?

Have I Seen It?

Let’s test your memory as much as your visual attention skills! You should focus on this exercise to get a good score.

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Characteristics of Visual-Spatial Intelligence

Intelligence is one of the most significant factors to determine someone’s characteristics. Thus, it is essential to know a kid's intelligence type and help them improve their skills and abilities accordingly. Typically, kids with visual-spatial intelligence share some similarities in terms of characteristics and learning styles.

Psychologist Linda Kreger Silverman, who is an expert on gifted children and spatial ability, states that kids with high spatial intelligence are “visual-spatial learners.”

visual spatial intelligence definition

According to Silverman’s research, these whole-picture thinking kids can be defined with some key characteristics:

  • They are able to grasp a concept all at once and see the whole idea before acknowledging the details.
  • They have vivid imaginations and are often good at coming up with unusual or unexpected ways to solve problems.
  • They learn more easily when presented with visual rather than auditory information.
  • They think in pictures rather than in words.
  • They find it hard to explain a step-by-step process since they view every process as a whole.

Spatial Intelligence Examples

Kids with visual-spatial intelligence or spatial awareness may be able to perceive, analyze and understand the visual information around them and use this information to solve problems and maintain their daily lives.

spatial multiple intelligence

To be more precise, let's explain these kids' characteristics with some examples from their daily lives:

  • Kids with visual spatial ability might be better at whole word recognition rather than phonics.
  • While learning math, these kids perform better on manipulatives and story problems, instead of equations.
  • They might be good at tasks related to shapes, patterns, and colors.
  • As their ability to visualize is high, they can easily solve puzzles, put things together and describe or identify places.
  • And of course, they enjoy drawing, painting, and visual arts.

If you think your kids have these signs of high spatial intelligence, you might think of supporting them with beneficial activities to improve their spatial skills.

8 Activities to Improve Spatial Intelligence

Whether your kid's visual spatial intelligence is high or not, it is necessary to support their spatial thinking skills as it affects their success in everyday tasks. Luckily, there are a lot of visual spatial intelligence activities that can help you discover and improve your kid's spatial intelligence.

1. Use Descriptive Spatial Language Every Day

Spatial language consists of words that describe the dimension of objects, locations, directions, and relations between objects. Using spatial language helps kids identify and understand spatial categories. In addition to that, it provides kids with classification experience and guides them to pay attention to the spatial environment.

Descriptive Spatial Language Words
Above After Around
Away Back Behind
Before Below Beside
Between Bottom Close, closer, closest
Down End Far, farther, farthest
First Forward Front
High, higher, highest In Into
Inside Last Long, longer, longest
Middle Near Next to
On Off Out, outside
Over Through Top
Toward Under

By using descriptive spatial language while communicating with your kid, you can help them improve their spatial skills.

2. Play Tangram Puzzles

Playing tangram puzzles is a great way to teach kids about spatial relationships and improve their visual ability.

visual spatial intelligence activities

Including tangram puzzles in kids' daily activities may help them learn geometric terms faster, develop stronger problem-solving skills, and perform better on basic arithmetic tests.

Tangram

Tangram

Play the ancient, one of the most popular puzzle games: Tangram! You need to use your visual-spatial intelligence for the best result!

Would you like to support your kid's spatial skills with fun and educational tangram games? 🙌

Discover MentalUP’s interactive tangram games and hundreds of more puzzles to improve your kid's spatial thinking skills and attention span! 🧩

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3. Participate in Movement Games

Movement games can help kids increase their spatial skills related to memory, perception, language, attention, and decision making.

examples of spatial intelligence

In addition to these benefits, playing movement games increases kids' readiness for school and builds a foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.

If you are looking for fun movement games or exercises to improve your kid’s skills and abilities, we are here to help!

MentalUP’s fitness feature includes more than 240 gymnastics games to support your kid's mental and physical development. Get your child active with MentalUP’s fun fitness exercises to support their personal development!

4. Play Spatial Sports

Playing spatial sports improves kids' mental rotation skills, which enable humans to visualize two and three-dimensional objects within their minds. Thus, improving mental rotation with spatial sports directly affects kids' cognitive and behavioral skills.

spatial intelligence meaning

Basketball, soccer, baseball, and gymnastics are all good spatial sports to build a strong sense of body awareness and improve spatial skills.

5. Play Chess

Everyone knows that chess is a great game to challenge the human mind intellectually. In terms of kids playing chess, it is beneficial in many ways. Playing chess improves kids' concentration skills and enhances reading and math skills.

spatial awareness activities

In addition, it significantly affects kids’ visual memory, attention span, and spatial ability.

6. Build a Memory Palace

Building a memory palace is a memory improvement strategy that was created thousands of years ago by Ancient Greeks. Basically, it is an activity to visualize familiar spatial environments and change these visualizations into images.

visual-spatial intelligence

From record-holding memory champions to famous detective Sherlock Holmes, the memory palace method is used by many people to enhance memory skills. So it is a great activity to enhance kids’ memory and spatial skills.

7. Read Spatial-Rich Books

Reading books supports kids’ emotional and social development and helps them learn how to express themselves better.

visual-spatial intelligence

Moreover, books that include maps, illustrations, and scenes from various angles or perspectives can expand their spatial awareness.

8. Practice Origami and Paper Folding

Origami is the art of paper folding that unfolds many wonders. It is so beneficial for kids that it is included in the elementary school curriculum in Japan.

spatial multiple intelligence

Together with improving kids’ spatial skills, doing origami also improves their thinking, analytical, creative, and behavioral skills.

6 Famous People with Spatial Intelligence

As stated before, people with high spatial intelligence can successfully perceive and derive insight from visual data. Throughout history, people with high spatial intelligence have built their careers as artists, designers, architects, photographers, and writers and become famous for their works. To better understand this cognitive process, take a look at some famous persons with spatial intelligence.

Examples of famous people with high spatial intelligence include

  • Leonardo da Vinci: Da Vinci was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance. He spent his life as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect.
  • Vincent van Gogh: Dutch-based Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh was one of the most famous in Western art history.
  • Alfred Hitchcock: British-American director Alfred Hitchcock was one of the most influential directors in the history of cinema. He directed more than 50 movies and worked actively for six decades.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright: Wright was an American architect, designer, writer, and educator. He became famous as the creator and expounder of organic architecture by designing buildings that harmonize with their inhabitants and their environment.
  • Georgia O’Keeffe: American modernist artist O’Keeffe was known for her paintings of enlarged flowers, New York skyscrapers, and New Mexico landscapes.
  • Henri Matisse: French visual artist Matisse was known for his use of color and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He spent his life as a painter, draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor.

Spatial Intelligence Careers

Spatial intelligence might be beneficial in any career that needs planning, creating and problem-solving. Thus, career possibilities for kids with high spatial intelligence include:

  • Architecture,
  • Visual arts,
  • Graphic design,
  • Math,
  • Engineering,
  • Cartography,
  • Psychology.

Now you have learned everything you need to know about visual-spatial intelligence, how it can be improved and how it will affect your kid's life.

We know that whatever their intelligence type is, every kid is unique and precious. Good luck on the way to discovering your kid's potential!

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The games of MentalUP are developed by pedagogues, academicians, and game designers. That's why all those games are so beneficial and aim to support kids' academic success. 🎓

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