Building and Constructing to Spatial Awareness

Building/Construction Theme 2015

The overarching goal addressed during our Building/Construction theme was spatial awareness, the ability to be aware of oneself in space as well as understanding spatial concepts, or prepositions. For more information on spatial awareness, click here.

We began our group with an interactive iPad story (Big City Song, by Debora Pearson). The target goals supported by the story focused on imitation of various sounds and preparation for our pretend play building/construction theme. Next, we went to work! The work activities included building a city with large foam blocks and pipes, using pretend tools, building with recycled goods (i.e. cardboard boxes, wooden blocks, toilet paper rolls, etc.), drawing out a building plan, making requests for blocks/tools needed, and painting/gluing wood blocks.

These activities supported many different goals such as expanding on play interests and pretend play, sharing space with others/participating in a collaborative project, tool use, receptive language (following directions, prepositions – on top, next to, over, under, etc.), and pre-writing skills (awareness and production of lines and shapes in a meaningful way).


For snack, we expanded on the construction theme by building structures out of various food items (pretzel stick “nails,” olive “bolts,” cheese “bricks,” cracker “walls,” and cream cheese/almond butter “cement”).

Goals addressed included tool use, bilateral coordination (requires opposite hand to secure item while using a tool), tactile exploration/tolerance, and exposure to new foods (looking, smelling, moving, touching, etc.)


To further develop these skills, try some of these suggestions at home:

  • Find stories that encourage making a variety of sounds – amp up the volume and affect…”CRASH,” “BOP,” “BANG”
  • Build with recycled or other available materials at home. Be creative! (i.e. making forts, making houses for pretend animals or favorite figures)
  • Using clear language, give your child directions while building and playing (i.e. “Put the bear in front of the house”) and demonstrate if needed (i.e. “I put the bear in front of the house”)
  • Consider following or making a visual plan to support visual/spatial awareness
  • Encourage drawing out plans (using different colors and shapes) for something they are making or building (depending on your child’s skill level) – you may need to demonstrate and do together.