Our top recommended spatial reasoning toys. Help children develop this important skill through play!
This site features affiliate links, which may earn me a small commission at no cost to you. Learn More
What Are Spatial Reasoning Toys?
Spatial reasoning is the ability to think about objects in space and how these objects interact with space. Spatial reasoning toys develop this skill.
Why Buy Spatial Reasoning Toys?
These toys develop the ability to think and manipulate objects in different dimensions. Once you can do this, it becomes much easier to take a complex idea and turn it into something that you can understand in your head.
This kind of thinking is especially valuable in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. However, it is also useful in other areas, including quilting, driving a car, interior decorating, and home organization.
Our Favorite Toys for Developing Spatial Reasoning
Fortunately, there are a lot of really fun ways to develop spatial reasoning skills! Here are some of our favorites.
Developed in China over 200 years ago, Tangrams are one of the oldest spatial reasoning toys out there. But like so many other timeless toys, they are timeless for a reason! Tangrams combine art and puzzles. With this toy, the player takes a defined set of seven particular shapes and uses them to create all sorts of pictures.
This is a much more modern game, where two players try to set up their boards so that the laser light bounces off mirrors in just the right way to place the other player in checkmate.
Building blocks are even older than Tangrams, although you find new varieties of them (like one of our favorites, Magna-Tiles) all the time.
Parents sometimes balk at the high price of quality building blocks, but I find this is a toy that really ages well. Buy a nice set of building blocks and you’re guaranteed years of play.
Don’t forget building bricks like LEGO that can be put together to create toys for pretend play.
Pattern blocks offer a wider variety of shapes than Tangrams. they also come in larger numbers, making them perfect for several children to play together. We love mixing pattern blocks with play dough and using them to make mosaics.
From classic Ravensburger puzzles to fancy 4D puzzles that include history lessons, this toy offers lots of opportunities to think about the ways shapes fit together. Did you correctly predict where the next piece goes, or is it time to keep searching?
As a bonus, puzzles make fun wall art when you’re done putting them together!
Geometiles are an amazing geometry themed toy! Build a 3-dimensional shape, carefully take it apart to lay the shape out flat, and then build it again!
Spatial Reasoning Board Games
Did you know that board games can also help us understand how shapes operate in space? I’ve even included one single player game.
Q-bitz is a fast paced game where four players race to build a particular design as quickly as possible.
All four players are building the same design using the same blocks, but each player has their own color of blocks.
This game can also be played equally well with 3 or 2 people. It also works as a solitary game. Buy additional sets to play with larger groups.
Blokus is a slower paced strategy game. You want to get all of your pieces on the board while making it as difficult as possible for the other players to do the same. What’s the catch? Each of your pieces must touch another one of your (same color) pieces, but only touching at the corner!
The game ends when nobody can place any more pieces. The player with the fewest pieces left waiting to be placed on the board wins.
You’ll find several single play games that focus on the way shapes fit together. Color Code offers a unique opportunity for children to think about how shapes stack on top of each other. The pieces also feel quite satisfying in your hands.
Laser Cut Building Kits
Older kids LOVE the spatial reasoning challenge of laser cut building kits. Read our review of the UGEARS 3D Wooden Puzzle Box here.
What are your favorite spatial reasoning toys and games?
Find more toy recommendations and play ideas on my Facebook page and in my Instagram feed.