Prepping for Prepositions

Prepositions are one of those early concepts that seem to trip up an awful lot of kiddos.  This, of course, means that therapists are often looking for activities to address that goal.  Often, we are using objects or pictures, which is great to assist with generalization and mastery, but before all that, I like to use first-hand experience.

I set up arrangements of physical activities that we can do in therapy and that I can send home for reinforcement.  With all of these, it is the child that is moving relationally, not acting on an object.  By this I mean the actual child goes “in” something, not that the child puts one object into another.  (I get to that skill/level later.)  I keep dialogue very, very basic and extremely repetitive.  With children who are at risk for delay, I would add this dialogue to activities very early on whether or not it’s a goal and encourage parents to do the same.


Dialogue:  “You are in the basket!  In the basket!  In!”;  “Out!  Piper is out of the bathtub!  Out of the tub!”

Therapy room:  Try using a laundry basket, large box or ball pit.

Home:  Possibilities include: a crib, bathtub, carseat, or closet (if this isn’t a frightening space).

Playground: You might use the sandbox or playhouse.


On/Off  (Again, this refers to the child getting on and off; turning something on or off doesn’t count!)

Dialogue:  “On, you are on the table!  On the table!”;  “Off!  Let’s get off the swing!”

Therapy room:  Use a table (kids love permission to get on the table!); a chair, or use colorful placemats on the floor as “lillypads” to keep you away from the “alligators” on the floor.

Home:  Try using the stairs (for this I would only use the bottom step, so when I do up/down later we avoid confusion), the potty, the couch or a rug (hopping from the rug to the floor and using “on the rug/off the rug”).

Playground:  There are lots of options for on/off here!  Try the swings, wiggle bridge, balance beam, seesaw or those springy rocking animals.



Dialogue:  “You are under the blanket!  Under!”;  “Under the basket?  You’re hiding under the basket!”;  “Let’s read under the table.”

Therapy room:  Use the laundry basket or large box again.  You can also use a table or chair.

Home:  You can try using the bed (literally under the bed) or the covers (“get under the covers”) or use a blanket in a peek-a-boo/hiding type game.

Playground:  Most playgrounds have a jungle gym or slide that you can get under.


Certainly there are other concepts you might address such as up, down, or through and you’ll find that all three of these environments will give you ample opportunities to narrate their use.    So, start heading in the right direction!

This is a guest post by Activity Tailor that appeared on, “Let’s Talk Speech-Language Pathology.”  






This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Brea

    Thank you again for the great guest post. I had a comment on Facebook from a Let’s Talk SLP follower that said that this post is explained very well and will be really helpful for parents. Nice job. 🙂

    1. admin

      Brea, Thanks for letting me know! You’ve got a great group of subscribers that seem both interested and engaged. I appreciate you letting me post on your site! Kim

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The views expressed in this blog are my own and are intended to inspire other speech-language pathologists in their own practice. If you are a parent, teacher or other educator, these ideas are not intended to take the place of treatment by a certified clinician. Read full disclaimer here.