This is the first article in a series which aim to provide some insight into the way spatial thinking develops in children, and draw on a range of reported research. The focus of this article is the. . . .

Take it in turns to place a domino on the grid. One to be placed horizontally and the other vertically. Can you make it impossible for your opponent to play?

A game for 2 players. Can be played online. One player has 1 red counter, the other has 4 blue. The red counter needs to reach the other side, and the blue needs to trap the red.

An extension of noughts and crosses in which the grid is enlarged and the length of the winning line can to altered to 3, 4 or 5.

Hover your mouse over the counters to see which ones will be removed. Click to remove them. The winner is the last one to remove a counter. How you can make sure you win?

This article is based on some of the ideas that emerged during the production of a book which takes visualising as its focus. We began to identify problems which helped us to take a structured view. . . .

A game for 1 or 2 people. Use the interactive version, or play with friends. Try to round up as many counters as possible.

A game for 1 person. Can you work out how the dice must be rolled from the start position to the finish? Play on line.

A game for 2 players. Given a board of dots in a grid pattern, players take turns drawing a line by connecting 2 adjacent dots. Your goal is to complete more squares than your opponent.

You have 4 red and 5 blue counters. How many ways can they be placed on a 3 by 3 grid so that all the rows columns and diagonals have an even number of red counters?

A tetromino is made up of four squares joined edge to edge. Can this tetromino, together with 15 copies of itself, be used to cover an eight by eight chessboard?

Make one big triangle so the numbers that touch on the small triangles add to 10.

Move just three of the circles so that the triangle faces in the opposite direction.

What happens when you try and fit the triomino pieces into these two grids?

A game for 2 people. Take turns joining two dots, until your opponent is unable to move.

Seeing Squares game for an adult and child. Can you come up with a way of always winning this game?

Can you see why 2 by 2 could be 5? Can you predict what 2 by 10 will be?

Players take it in turns to choose a dot on the grid. The winner is the first to have four dots that can be joined to form a square.

Cut four triangles from a square as shown in the picture. How many different shapes can you make by fitting the four triangles back together?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the lobster, yacht and cyclist?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming playing the board game?

A shape and space game for 2,3 or 4 players. Be the last person to be able to place a pentomino piece on the playing board. Play with card, or on the computer.

Use the three triangles to fill these outline shapes. Perhaps you can create some of your own shapes for a friend to fill?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Fung at the table?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this brazier for roasting chestnuts?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these people?

I found these clocks in the Arts Centre at the University of Warwick intriguing - do they really need four clocks and what times would be ambiguous with only two or three of them?

How many different cuboids can you make when you use four CDs or DVDs? How about using five, then six?

We start with one yellow cube and build around it to make a 3x3x3 cube with red cubes. Then we build around that red cube with blue cubes and so on. How many cubes of each colour have we used?

Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube made of 9 small cubes. Each face of the large cube is painted a different colour. How many small cubes will have two painted faces? Where are they?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of the chairs?

A magician took a suit of thirteen cards and held them in his hand face down. Every card he revealed had the same value as the one he had just finished spelling. How did this work?

Find your way through the grid starting at 2 and following these operations. What number do you end on?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outlines of these clocks?

What can you see? What do you notice? What questions can you ask?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of this shape. How would you describe it?

Investigate how the four L-shapes fit together to make an enlarged L-shape. You could explore this idea with other shapes too.

How many balls of modelling clay and how many straws does it take to make these skeleton shapes?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of the child walking home from school?

How can the same pieces of the tangram make this bowl before and after it was chipped? Use the interactivity to try and work out what is going on!

If you split the square into these two pieces, it is possible to fit the pieces together again to make a new shape. How many new shapes can you make?

Here are shadows of some 3D shapes. What shapes could have made them?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Granma T?

Imagine a 3 by 3 by 3 cube. If you and a friend drill holes in some of the small cubes in the ways described, how many will have holes drilled through them?

Can you fit the tangram pieces into the outline of Little Ming?

In how many ways can you fit two of these yellow triangles together? Can you predict the number of ways two blue triangles can be fitted together?

Can you work out what is wrong with the cogs on a UK 2 pound coin?