What is Visual Constancy?
Visual Constancy is the recognition that objects can be the same despite changes in position or appearance, such as size or color. Visual constancy means that objects are identifiable even when rotated, turned over, tossed, viewed close or from afar and even scribbled on or crumpled. A typically developing two-year-old will also begin to recognize the similarity of objects in pictures, such as a heart is still a heart even if the color or size changes or the picture is turned upside down.
Teaching About Visual Constancy
Visual constancy teaches a child that blocks are blocks whether they are soft or hard or red or blue. Point out to your child that the Curious George doll is still Curious George whether he is big or small, with or without a hat or stands on one or both legs. The Curious George that he hugs at night is the same as the monkey in the picture book. The tree that looks like a tiny stick in the distance is still a tree, and you are still the parent even if your child views you while looking upside down from between his legs.
Parents can help their children develop visual constancy by offering activities that involve shapes and pictures that vary in one attribute, such as color, size or orientation (i.e. upside down).
Suggested activities include
- Point out that all circles (or squares, triangles, etc.) remain circles even when they are different in color or size.
- Provide a shape sorter with one or two openings using shapes that differ in color.
- Scatter picture cards so that they are facing all different directions, and take turns finding named pictures. By varying the orientation of the pictures, your child will learn that the picture of the car is still a car even when upside down and it appears that the wheels are on top.
- Read a book that has many pictures of the same character such as Curious George and point out what looks the same or different in each picture…. and
- As demonstrated in the video, create a picture activity using identical pictures of various sizes and discuss how they are the same picture (i.e. of a duck).