Games to Play to Teach Prepositional Phrases

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A prepositional phrase begins with a preposition, which is a word that indicates location or time, such as "on," "at" and "during," and ends with a noun, pronoun, gerund or clause. Word games can help students learn sentence structure and teach students how to identify prepositional phrases. Word games can include completing stories, writing poems and solving sentence puzzles. Group activities can also teach students about prepositional phrases.

1 Prepositional Phrase "Mad Libs"

"Mad Libs" are word games in which a story has been pre-written but players must fill in the blanks, without knowing the story, to complete the story. When all the blanks have been filled in, the silly story is read aloud. If you are creative, write two to three single page stories and erase all of the prepositional phrases from them. You can also print out free Mad Lib exercises, but they will have all types of words and phrases (see Resources). Call on students in your class to fill in the blanks with prepositional phrases, not allowing them to repeat the same one twice. Read the story to the class when it is complete.

Vocabulary Builder

2 Prepositional Phrase Poem Game

Give students a list of prepositional phrases. Students will need to pick only one prepositional phrase that inspires them. Play the poem game by picking a prepositional phrase and writing a short poem that uses this phrase creatively in the first and last lines. Students cannot simply repeat the first and last lines. The game helps students become familiar with different ways to use a prepositional phrase. When students complete their prepositional phrase poems, call on volunteers to read the poems aloud.

3 Prepositional Phrase Puzzles

Prepositional phrase puzzles can help students explore the structure of a sentence. Print out several sentences in a large font and cut each sentence apart word by word. Put the pieces of each sentence into individual envelopes. Divide your class into groups and give each group an envelope. The purpose of the game is to put the sentence together and then point out which part of the sentence is the prepositional phrase. If you want a faster-paced game, offer prizes to the first couple groups that finish the puzzle successfully.

4 Prepositional Phrase Group Activities

Sometimes students are more willing to get involved in collaborative activities.

Have your class move their desks into one large circle. If you are working with tables, move the tables aside and have students move their chairs in one large circle. Tell students the goal of the game is to tell a story sentence by sentence, but each sentence must start with a prepositional phrase. Phrases cannot be repeated twice in a row. You will begin the story and it will continue around the room and end with you.

Another group activity for the classroom is the prepositional phrase scavenger hunt. Divide the class into two groups. Each group will hide an object in the classroom while the other group stands outside. Each group will then come up with five to10 clues about where the object is using prepositional phrases. Whichever group finds the hidden object first wins a prize.

Marianne Luke has been writing professionally since 2005. She has experience writing instruction manuals, research, fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and she also reviews Orlando local music for "Orange Ave Lab" magazine. Luke earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical communications and creative writing from the University of Central Florida in 2010.