When most people think about visual skills, they think about how well a child can see, or visual acuity. But there are a whole slew of other skills – visual perceptual skills – that help kids make sense of what they see.
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Kids use visual perception at school, at play, and at home for all kinds of tasks from reading to copying from the board to completing puzzles and more. Visual perceptual skills include:
1 || Visual discrimination, or the ability to determine similarities and differences between figures and forms. Kids use this skill on worksheets and activity books where they have to look at a set of similar pictures and find the one that’s different. Visual discrimination comes into play as children learn to recognize letters and numbers and is important for sorting and matching tasks.
2 || Visual closure is the ability to complete an unfinished figure or shape by “filling in the blanks’ visually. This skill is important as kids learn to read and learn to complete puzzles by figuring out what is missing.
3 || Figure ground is how kids are able to distinguish between a visual stimulus and a competing visual background. When kids look in the junk drawer for a pencil or search in the toy box for a certain action figure, they are using this skill.
4 || Visual memory is the ability to recall or remember a specific image. This is how kids are able to copy sentences from the board, remembering a word (or several words) at a time. Visual memory also helps kids form letters consistently and contributes to letter recognition and reading.
5 || Form constancy is the skill that allows kids to recognize forms, shapes, letters, and other objects regardless of differences in their size, orientation, and other details. When kids are able to recognize the letter “a” – in any font or size – they are relying on form constancy. This is also how kids know that a square is a square whether it is small, large, blue, or green.
6 || Spatial relations is how we perceive objects in relation to one another. It refers to how kids understand visual concepts like near, far, above, and below. This skill comes into play for handwriting tasks, particularly alignment and spacing.
7 || Visual Sequential Memory is the ability to capture and retain sequences of letters, numbers, or symbols. This skill is a precursor to reading and recognizing words as well as spelling and other memorization tasks like remembering phone numbers and addresses.
There are lots of fun ways to help kids develop their visual perceptual skills. Here are some of our favorites!
I Spy With a Twist – Colors, shapes, distance, and more! This game hits on all of these visual concepts in a super fun way!
Who’s Missing? – A great visual memory game that kids can play together in a group! Perfect for school or the backyard!
Partner Painting – This is a fun and easy cooperative art activity that requires kids to focus and attend to their partner while creating their own masterpiece!
Seed Collections – This sorting activity requires kids to use visual discrimination skills to create a seed collection organized by size, type, or color.
Transportation Seek and Find Jar – Here’s a great figure ground activity that would appeal to any kid because it uses Legos! Need we say more?
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