Seeking Clues: Space

IMG_8398All activities in New World Kids are designed to be open-ended and therefore elicit diverse results. The following activities are especially designed to help reveal clues as to the unique non-verbal strengths in each child’s thinking, using the qualities of the Sensory Alphabet as lenses. The teacher presents the children with specific media and a specific assignment. The teacher looks at the results for clues as to how each child thinks and learns best. For example, a child who is strong in space and shape may have strengths similar to an architect or sculptor. A child strong in sound and line might think similarly to a writer or musician. And so on.

One child may have only one or two strengths; another may have many. The second child is not better than the first—they are just different.

Important: NWK teachers must engage in these activities, as a way to understand more about their own strengths, before guiding children through them.

Overall Objective for Children: To respond naturally to each activity.


  • Have the children observe and collect examples of the non-verbal quality chosen for the lesson.  They should search for the quality at least inside and outside.
  • Give children very specific materials that can easily be used to express the specific non-verbal quality.
  • Give the children a specific, open-ended problem to solve with the materials.
  • The children work individually. Encourage them to “do their best’ but do not offer help or suggestions.
  • Share the products.
  • Talk about the diversity of the products.
  • Save or record children’s efforts for their portfolios, especially those where the child really was engaged or enjoying the activity.
  • Makes notes about which children really enjoyed the activity, which did not enjoy it, and which children did something unexpected.

These following suggestions  work well with early childhood. The intent is to devise assignments for which each child has little experience and so will not respond in a stereotypical manner. For example, if they were asked to draw a “character,” many might attempt to draw SpongeBob SquarePants or another character seen on television, rather than use their own imaginations. Likewise, if they are asked to build a house, they might try to create their idea of a house: a box with a triangular roof, windows, a front door, instead of considering a unique house, like an igloo, castle or tent.


 A Comfortable Space

  • Give each child a 3” tall avatar that can stand on its own.
  • Ask children to decorate their avatar in their own image.
  • Give children (non-bendable) drinking straws and small balls of modeling clay.
  • Show them how they can connect two straws with the clay.
  • Ask them to create a “happy” space for their avatar, using as many or few materials as desired.
  • Allow them to use paper or a few other simple materials if they wish, but do not suggest they do so.


Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 2.44.02 PMInterpretation:

Children with a natural strength in 3D construction usually make “stand alone” structures and use triangular connections to make their pieces stable.


  • Children with a visual idea may try to make a cube or other less stable piece.
  • Children with little 3D interest or strength may make a flat (2D) shape
  • Children with strengths elsewhere may create a minimal form; e.g. a vertical stick in a single clay ball.

Also notice if the child does something different or extra. For example, a child may create a story to go with their construction, which may show strengths in line, movement, sound and/or rhythm. (Notice the construction on the right. This child has a movement strength and so was trying to create a half-pipe for skateboarding.)

Simple Notan

  • Give each child a 4”x4” black square and white piece of paper.
  • Show them how to cut out a side of the square and turn it over.
  • Tell them they can do it for one or more sides.
  • You can help them glue the black pieces to the white background or just take a picture of what they make before gluing.

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 2.50.17 PM


Some children will create symmetrical designs; others will not. One is not better than the other. Just notate what you observe.

A child with a strong 2D sense of space will do a fair job of following instructions. (Notice the little girl on the left.)



  • A child with a strong 3D sense of space may try to make a 3D form.
  • Some children may simply deconstruct the square, showing a possible interest in shape or visual rhythm. (Notice the child on the right.)
  • Others may do something unrelated to the instructions.



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