Teaching young children new concepts can be a challenging undertaking, especially when the concept is difficult, such as that of positional words. Examples are over/under, in/on, up/down and so on. Positional words are important for children to learn and understand. You can use many different hands-on games and activities to help young children get a good grasp on positional words.
Gather the children together in a half circle on the floor. Place an empty chair in the open space of the half circle. Make sure you have flash cards with the positional words on them. Demonstrate to the children using the chair and the flash cards the different positions and the words that go with them. After the demonstration, have one child at a time come up to the chair and choose what position they want with the chair (that is, "beside the chair"). Have the other children say what position the child is in. This enables the children to practice their positional words.
Hiding a Teddy Bear
Use a teddy bear to practice positional words with the children. Hide the teddy bear somewhere around the room. Ask the children to find him. When they find him they have to say in what position they found him (that is, "behind the plant"). Let the children take turns hiding him in different spots and in different positions. This activity enables everyone to have a chance to hide him and find him, giving everyone practice in saying what position he is in and in putting him in different positions.
Look and Find
A fun game to play to practice positional words with the children is a look-and-find game. Have the children sit in a circle where they have a good view of the room. Begin the game by describing to the children where an object is in the room by using a positional word that they have been learning, and then have them look around and tell you where it is. For example, you can say, "Look for a book on top of the table." Let the children find a few of the objects, then let them take turns being the ones giving out the directions.
Playing an old-fashioned matching game can help the children hone their skills with positional words. Put pictures showing examples of the positional words up on the blackboard. Hand a flash card of a positional word to the children, and let them take turns matching the words with the pictures. The pictures can be of anything, as long as they are clear representations of a positional word. For example, you can use a picture of a cat sleeping "on" a table or a child hiding "behind" a tree.
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