My son is quite often totally oblivious to what's around him. For example:

  • jumping up and down under a table
  • all of a sudden spinning around with his arms out and smacking the people walking next to or behind him
  • stopping in the middle of a hallway to pick something up causing the people behind him to trip over him

Now I'm sure many of you will say "that's normal". Yes, I agree, to some extent it is. However his mother is also often totally oblivious of her surroundings as well... as I have noticed are her parents on occasion.

In fear of this being genetic, I'd like to come up with some games to help him work on that skill, much in the same way marco-polo helps folks with directional hearing, or chess helps with predictive analysis, or guessing games with deductive logic.

Anyone have any idea of games that might help with this?

Currently looking at the toddler age, but also thinking forward to the pre-schooler age as well.

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure what the issue might be, and with the desription it'd hard to really say (though I know what you mean about people just stopping in front of you without warning) but I'd never consider this a skill you can work out. Although if you are trying to get your child more used to things with his surroundings, some ideas of things you can do:

  • Ball toss, with multiple people, where you move a ball back and forth. Chane directions or randomly move the ball among people, better with 3 or more and you can roll the ball with toddlers or toss it with older children. You could do this with a soccer ball, football or baseball with kids of various ages, soccer ball obstacle courses are a good option
  • Obstacle courses, probably the best thing with what you may think of, most children's playground have lots of structures and you can make a path through it with your kids. My older one loves doing this on occasion
  • Indoor obstacle course, under furniture or over pillows or things, similar to doing it outside but with indoor objects
  • Simon Says, but think about doing actions that make the participants think about who is next to them, such "get an arms length away from the person next to you"
  • Do exercises where you need to keep a certain distance away to start, so they get an idea that they need space to work out, may be a long term thing. I do things like this with my boys knowing they DO NOT understand the objective at first, but somehow internalize it and later on seem to understand instinctively

Good luck with it!


Here's my take on spacial awareness, body awareness, kinesthetic awareness, and proprioception.

Train the body with activities like gymnastics or rough and tumble play. Train awareness of the body by talking about these activities and consider breathing meditation.

Some games:

  • Spinning and falling down. Over and over again.
  • Standing and falling backwards onto a mattress. Over and over again.
  • Building with blocks (so as not to be knocked down).
  • Building forts that can be played in. Children prefer to be inside smaller places.
  • Blindfold games such as walk to the kitchen blindfolded or pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Throwing objects at a target: rocks, balls, or spears.
  • Catch (can add a moving target to the above)
  • Bouncing on a mattress or trampoline, diving into water.

Many of these are common childhood games in many cultures. They naturally work to better connect the spacial awareness functions of our brains with the body control functions of our brain. And they have positive feedback loops in that the more body control you achieve the more fun the games become.

Also here's a great article, 'LEARNING TO "SENSE" SPACE: Why Kids May Fall Out of Bed' that addresses body awareness. (Found via Gill Connell)

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