Do you have a visually or spatially gifted child?

How to Parent the Visually and Spatially Gifted Child

by Kelly Sundstrom

Do you ever find your little one constructing a pyramid out of boxes, toys and books? You could have a visually and spatially gifted child on your hands. Although many gifted children are academically gifted in the standard subjects of math or science, the Gifted Development Center suggests that children who are visually and spatially gifted may excel in the creative world of art, music or writing. Unlike auditory-sequential learners who find solutions by listening and following directions, visual-spatial learners find solutions through creative play and developing their own methods of problem solving. Find ways to effectively parent your creatively gifted child to help her use her visual and spatial abilities in a positive way.

1 Get out a puzzle that your little one can accomplish, but is slightly challenging for her. Don't worry about the age range on the box. Children who are visually and spatially gifted often love to complete puzzles that are a little harder than standard toddler or preschool puzzles. Sit with your child and work on the puzzle with her, giving her tips along the way but letting her work through the puzzle at her own pace. Your visual-spatial child may even start working on the puzzle in a way that you might not because she can see the patterns emerging from the puzzle as she works. Think of yourself more as a helper than an instructor when it comes to working on puzzles with your visual-spatial child.

2 Work on a few mazes with your visually or spatially gifted child, or create your own for him to do. Basic mazes found in toddler or preschool workbooks might be too easy for a gifted child, so look for mazes that are a little more challenging than this. Allow your child to use any type of writing material that he wants in order to complete the mazes, or give him stickers to create a more dynamic trail through the maze. A visual-spatial child will often see the patterns in the puzzle quickly, and might take an unusual route to complete it. Some visual-spatial children will even work a puzzle backwards or start in the middle of the puzzle and work their way out on both ends!

3 Clear off a space on your table and pour out a box of pattern blocks onto the top. Lay out different pattern block frames that your gifted child can work with, which come in triangles, squares, octagons and other shapes. Show your child a few unique ideas about how to fill in the pattern block frames, but don't be afraid to let your child experiment with the pattern blocks by herself. Visual-spatial children often enjoy learning whole concepts at once and finding the patterns for themselves.

4 Set out an array of arts and crafts supplies and just let your visually and spatially gifted child go to town. Avoid telling her what to do with the supplies. Auditory-sequential learners work well with detailed instructions, but a visual-spatial learner works well by experimenting with the art supplies in a hands-on way. Let your gifted toddler or preschooler use the supplies to create her own original work of art. Visual-spatial learners feel content when they can express themselves creatively. Always use art supplies that are non-toxic and appropriate for younger children, like salt dough, tempera paint, construction paper, press board canvas, beeswax crayons and washable markers.

Items you will need

  • Puzzles
  • Mazes
  • Pattern blocks
  • Art supplies


  • Always monitor your young children when playing with puzzles designed for older children and adults.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images