As far as the eight parts of speech go, prepositions are on top. Or, next to, in front of, beside, close to… Well, you catch my drift. Prepositions do the work of telling us where things are in relationship to something else. They include the words: inside, outside, around, above, between, before, after, beyond, off and on. Your kids might ask, why so many prepositions? The simple answer is they’re incredibly useful little things. Take this scene for example:
“Where’s the ketchup?”
“In the refrigerator.”
“On the second shelf.”
“Next to the carton of eggs.”
“I don’t see it.”
“Look in front of you.”
See? Without mastery of prepositions, the ketchup would be lost forever. And that would make all the ketchup-loving kids out there very sad. We can’t have that now, can we?
Now sure, the idea of teaching kids grammar may make some people’s eyes glaze over—like yours and your kids. But mastering prepositions doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be just the opposite. Prepositions are actually loads of fun. Here are two ways to play with them.
On your next trip to the playground, play Simon Says using prepositions. Not only will kids get to work on prepositions, they’ll get extra practice following directions too. For instance:
Simon Says go around the tree, under the monkey bars, and down the slide.
Note: For younger kids, start out with just one instruction. For older kids, turn it into a memory game. Keep tacking on instructions to see how many steps they can remember in a chain. Our working or short-term memory can typically hold seven pieces of information with a variability of plus or minus two. So see if the kids can beat nine steps. If they can, they have super memory.
Argh, me hearties! It’s treasure hunt time. Hide a toy or snack somewhere in the house, then tell the kids where they can find it using prepositions.
The snack you seek is under the napkin on the table in the dining room.
For a twist, have your child hide something from you and direct you to it using a variety of prepositions.
While the rest of the parts of speech (i.e., nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, interjections) sure are fun, in my book, prepositions are the most playful.