In, on, under, through – what do all of these words have in common? They are all prepositions. A preposition is a grammatical concept that generally describes where an object is in space or its spatial relation to another object. Prepositions can consist of one word or may be placed in a phrase (more than one word). Some examples of prepositions, in addition to those listed above, include: up, down, out, on, off, for, from, with, on top, until, by, next to, in front of, behind, above, between, and around.
Very young children cannot grasp the concept of prepositions due to lack of object permanence. Babies do not realize that objects that are hidden underneath, inside of, or behind others still exist once they are placed there. They will often be surprised at the objects’ disappearance. Jean Piaget was the psychologist who studied object permanence with infants. Children generally develop the understanding of object permanence and begin to search for objects that are not within their line of vision between birth and two years of age.
Once this stage of development has been completed and skills have been mastered, children are more able to understand prepositions and where objects are in comparison to others. They will begin to follow simple one-step directs such as “put the bear on the chair” or “put the bear in the box”. Young children, no longer toddlers, may begin to state prepositions when asked. For example, if a parent asks “where is your car?” a child may reply “under the couch”.
For children who have difficulty understanding prepositions or may need a little bit of extra work on this concept, I have created a game to play in speech-language therapy. It is called “Preposition Picnic”. The game board looks like a picnic blanket as seen below:
Download the game here: Preposition Picnic!
Each time a child rolls the dice and moves across the board, he or she must pick up a preposition card. These cards show a picnic basket and an ant. The child must identify where the ant is in relation to the picnic basket. One side has the answers with the images and the other only has the images.
Therefore, this can be played as a game to learn the prepositions or a game to test knowledge of prepositions. This game is available to download for free by clicking on the link underneath the game board preview!
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