Area Senser: Foundations

Even children in their first year are sensitive to area. However, they may not explicitly recognize area as an attribute (separate from general size, such as “small” and “big”) for some time. If asked to fill in a rectangle, preschoolers may just draw approximations of circles.  Uses side matching strategies in comparing areas.


You may see this:

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Other Examples:

  • Children intuitively cover surfaces with materials, and toddlers can learn vocabulary for specific dimensions. Such explorations build an action-based foundation for understanding area.
  • Draws mostly-closed shapes and lines with no indication of covering the specific region.

Help your student become a(n) Area Senser: Foundations

As with other spatial, geometric, and measurement concepts, free movement of their bodies and manipulations of a wide variety of objects in rich environments provide children the strongest experiential foundation for understanding area. Talking about area (e.g. "We covered the whole table. Let’s paint a small area.") can also be helpful.

Special Thanks To

Institute of Education Sciences
The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through grant numbers R305K050157, R305A120813, R305A110188, and R305A150243. to the University of Denver. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.