This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Enhancing Children's Shape and Space Ability with Sensory Play




Wang, Wei

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Industrial and Graphic Design

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Some people can't imagine what a space will look like after a renovation is finished, can't read a map, or quickly get lost in an unfamiliar place. Some students in high school and middle school have terrible performances in mathematics learning. These problems are highly related to society’s lack of a geometric focus on children at a young age. Learning shape and space at an early age is essential for children's abilities in the long run, such as scene-mapping, creation, and mathematics. Current teaching methods are mainly focused on the current curriculum in a school setting, but not children's intrinsic interest. Thus, these methods often have ineffective outcomes. In contrast, play is children's work, and they can learn curricular objectives while playing. How to help children learn more through play is important for the whole society. The study develops a guideline for designers to improve shape and space ability in children ages three to ten. It focuses on how children recognize the basic and complex combinations of shapes through the multisensory play process (toys, playground) and gradually develop their mathematic problem-solving ability, spatial ability, and even their imaginative-creative ability. Chapter 2 embodies play, children's development (both physical and cognitive), sensory play, and the development of shape and space ability, explaining the relationship among shape learning and children's multisensory abilities. Chapter 3 analyzes the current teaching tools and activities to find the relation among teaching content and sense interaction. Chapter 4 is the thesis guideline, and Chapter 5 is the application of the approach.