Up, Down And All Around
Your child learns to communicate more every day. At 3.5 years, your child will have mastered the art of communicating verbally using gestures and facial expressions. By communicating regularly with your child, you not only find out a lot about what he or she is thinking; you also engage his or her communication skills better!
A key milestone in communication is to understand the use of these basic prepositions: up, down, top, bottom, under, over, next to, and beside. You can engage your children to learn the meaning of these words by giving them simple instructions such as “Kindly put the newspaper on top of the table,” or “Can you put this notebook inside my bag?” Accompany your verbal instructions with gestures to make it easier for your child to understand. For instance, point from the notebook to the inside portion of your bag as you say the words. The more you give them exercises like these, the easier children grasp the meanings of prepositional phrases.
You can also play games to sharpen your children’s understanding of prepositions. Choosing an item they like will pique their interest and allow them to pay more attention to your instructions. My daughter loved plastic frogs and she had quite a collection of them by the time she went to Kindergarten. To play this game, we would use her plastic frogs and I would give her a direction and see if she could complete it successfully. For example, “Put the frog under the green paper,” or “Put your favorite frog next to me.” If your child fails to follow your instructions the first time, repeat your command and use gestures until he or she can follow suit. Repeat what your child just did to emphasize what has just been learned, such as, “Jocelyn, you put the frog under the green paper.” Don’t forget to praise them for a job well done.
You can also add another twist and reverse the roles: this time, you child gives the directions and you follow him or her. Once in a while, deliberately place the object in the wrong place to check if your child spots the mistake! Not only will your child learn more from this; both of you may even share some hearty laughing moments too!