Positional Language Games

Kids will love pretending to be a bunny for this game and they wont' even realize they are learning! This is an introduction to positional words for toddlers and preschoolers.

Preschool Positional Spring Practice Page March Rabbit and  Clover

Why are learning positional words important?

Many parents are unaware of how important it is to teach positional language to their children. Positional language helps children develop their vocabulary and builds verbalization and comprehension skills.

Many parents are unaware of the importance of how important it is to teach

Additionally, it promotes critical thinking development in the brain.

Finally, and maybe even most importantly, it helps children locate things. It gives them a framework for where an object is physically in the cognitive concept of space and eventually, math.

This helps children build life skills and contributes to their confidence. “They are important as children become more independent, begin to read and write and learn spatial relationships.”

Positional Practice Activities Printable

How to use this free printable page:

Take the page and introduce the words while using an object. It can be anything small to place in different positions.

It would be awesome to have the child collect a clover or leaf for this activity.

Based on the your preschooler's attention span, quickly or slowly place manipulative on each position on the worksheet and say the word.

Have your child copy you. The toddler moves the manipulative and says the word, or repeat the word after you, based upon individual knowledge.

Based on the your child's interest, do this a number of times in different order.

Take turns, similar to a game format. ANYTHING CAN BE FUN!

At the end of activity, go REALLY fast and silly, and the student does the same.

Be a Bunny Position Practice:

This version of the activity is going to build knowledge in addition to building gross motor skills.

Ask the child if they want to be a bunny. You can even put music on for this to increase the “fun” of the atmosphere.

Positional Practice Activities Printable

Now the child is going to “be the bunny” in the position of what is shown on the page.

  • OUTSIDE: Place the object outside of a door, then go inside the room. Shut the door quickly and reopen it. Tell the child that they are outside the door. Next, put the object inside the room, leaving the door open. Tell the child to hop like a bunny outside of the room. Have them repeat the positional word, “outside”. Make sure that in the beginning you are doing one positional word activity at a time.
  • INSIDE: Use the same activity that you used for outside. However, use different rooms or locations. This way the child easily makes the connections to outside can be in a few places. Positions isn't location based, it's position based. Doing this in several locations helps build this definition.
  • ABOVE: This activity is pretty basic. First, take the object and hold it above your head, and explain what you are doing as you do it. Ask the child to be a bunny and hold the object above her bunny ears. To practice gross motor skills and coordination, ask her if she can hop AND hold the object above her ears at the same time! Most kids know the word UP. This practice will build on using the word above, which is a positional word. It also builds vocabulary as we use the word UP a lot more in daily language then we do the word ABOVE.
  • NEXT TO: This activity is a great way for your child to get some energy out! First, take the object that you have been using. Place it next to something big that is in the room. A chair is an obvious object that is easy to identify. Tell your child, “I'm putting ___ NEXT to the chair.” Now, the child probably can't be a bunny and hop next to the chair as they may run into the chair and hurt themselves. So you can ask them if they want to be a bunny and sit next to the chair. Then, choose a place the child can hop next to safely. Ask, “can you hop next to the …..” This is a great activity to do outside with your toddler as well.
  • UNDER: You will need to direct your child to hop on all fours for this one. Place an object under your feet and verbally tell your child in a simple sentence what you are doing. Then ask the child if they want to pretend to be a bunny with four legs and hop under the table. Once the child picks up on this position, you can ask her to place the object under her feet. Playing this activity outdoors can provide a lot of fun opportunities to practice under. Ask the child if they want to hop as a bunny and go under the tree. Or if they want to hide under something.

Building more skills with positional words:

Combining positional words:

The easiest positional words to combine from the free printable worksheet are Over and Under, and Inside and Outside.

These are great activities that you can do with your child when you are waiting for something.

Take any object, keys-paper-drink cup, and your hand. Put your hand over the cup. Talk about how your hand is over the cup and the cup is under your hand. Then ask your child to do this activity.

When you are waiting in the car, ask your child if they want to play a game. Then explain that you are going to play the inside outside game. Each of you takes a turn naming something you see inside the car. After that you each take a turn naming something you see outside of the car.

The benefit of combining these two positional word sets is that you are setting up learning for opposites later. The child will already be used to seeing these words in action, and it will help him learn the concept and specifics of opposites later.

As your child expands their positional words knowledge and vocabulary, you can teach right and left using these same methods. Have the child place an object next to his right shoe. Make sure you are both taking turns to express this verbally in a simple sentence. “I put this next to my right shoe.” Teach the dominant side first. Only teach one side at a time. Our instinct is to teach left and right together, but it's easier to learn one side at a time. When teaching right, or left, use different parts of the body. For example: “I am holding this up to my right ear”.” I am putting my hand over my right eye.” The idea of right and left should be taught in short practice sessions, no more then ten or twenty minutes.

St Patrick's Day free printable worksheet for preschoolers

Incorporating counting with positional word practice:

Once your child is familiar with these positional words, you can incorporate counting practice using the objects. For example: Ask your child to find two blocks. Then ask them if they can place both blocks next to the chair. Whatever number of counting your child is skilled at, is the number level of what you can use with positional words. Two is a great number to start with, because children can use both their hands. Holding one object in each hand and placing both in a positional location is an easy way to understand and count two.

Finally, reinforce learning about positional words with books and videos.

The article mentioned below has a wonderful video showing how to teach positional words with books. This way of teaching using a book should still be done interactively as demonstrated in the video.

“Picture books can be used to point out the location of objects using positional words such as over, under, above, on, beside, next to, between, in front of, near, far, etc.”

Going on a Bear Hunt ! Don't we all love this? I have sung and acted this song out with children both inside and when we are on a walk! This much beloved song is perfect for learning positional words

We're Going on a Bear Hunt-Kiboomers

Going on a Bear Hunt with a real bear in the woods

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