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Teaching Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

Grammar, Literacy, Writing & Language

Written by: Mary Kate Bolinder
a preposition anchor chart supports student learning

Do you remember memorizing a list of prepositions in grade school? Believe it or not, native English speakers already have a strong understanding of prepositions and prepositional phrases. They are a common part of our everyday language, and play an important role in giving information about place, direction, and time. Keep reading to learn more about prepositions and prepositional phrases.

What is a Preposition?

a prepositions anchor chart supports student learning

A preposition is a word that gives information about the place, direction, or time of the noun or pronoun in the sentence.

Examples of prepositions: on, for, after, at, by in, up, from, under

For a more comprehensive list of prepositions, click here.

A prepositional phrase is a group of words that contains a preposition and its object.

Examples of prepositional phrases: under the table, over the moon, through the door.

Below, download a list of grammar skills, including prepositions, perfect for reviewing important grammar concepts.

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toothy task kits

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Activities to Teach Prepositions

Prepositions: Act it out!

Make a list of prepositions together as a class. A fun activity is to use a stuffed animal and have it demonstrate prepositions of place and direction. Students will have a blast taking turns coming up with new prepositions to add to the list!

Then, take turns calling out prepositional phrases and have students act them out in the classroom.

Examples: under the desk, next to the door, behind the shelf, on the chair, in front of the table

The song “We're Going on a Bear Hunt” is full of prepositions. Sing it together as a class and act it out, or read the book on our booklist below.

Playground Prepositions

prepositions can be practiced on the playground

Get outside and moving with playground prepositions! Similar to the act it out activity above, the teacher will call out a preposition and the students must do that on the playground (example: under the slide, next to the swing, between the monkey bars, etc.)

For a different twist on this activity, have students take a ball outside. Have them bounce or roll the ball, then write a prepositional phrase on their clipboard telling where the ball ended up (example: behind the climber, over the fence (hopefully not!), in the tube slide, etc).

Preposition Centers

Two different levels of grammar centers (1st and 2nd) for preposition practice. In this 1st grade center, students will use clothes pins to clip the correct preposition.

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In this 2nd grade preposition center, students will use task cards and a recording sheet to identify the correct preposition. Great for informal assessment or review!

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Toothy – Prepositions

toothy is an engaging way to practice prepositions

We have a Toothy for everything! This self-checking game is perfect for whole group instruction, small group, independent practice, or centers. Identify the preposition in the sentence, then place a tooth in Toothy's mouth. A game that is sure to make little learners smile!

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Grammar Day by Day: Prepositions

daily preposition practice for students

This spiral review activity features 5 days of practice activities to reinforce the skill of prepositions and prepositional phrases.

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For more preposition practice activities from Lucky Little Learners, check out our All Access Library here!


Books to teach Prepositions & Prepositional Phrases

These books are full of prepositions! Read with your students and have them listen for all the prepositions they hear.

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins

I'm On it! by Andrea Tsurumi

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Out the Door by Christy Hale


Videos to Teach Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

The Preposition Song by Jack Hartman

Jack Hartman is at it again, this time with a song about prepositions for kids. Try singing along and memorizing all the prepositions to the tune of “Yankee Doodle.”

Prepositions of Place for Kids by Novakid

Students will have fun placing Luna the cat in a new position with her box to review prepositions of place.

The Prepositions Songs by ScratchGarden

This collection of songs from ScratchGarden teachers prepositions of place and movement, great for when you just want to introduce a few prepositions at a time!

With all the new knowledge of prepositions, students will be on their way to mastery in no time!


Tips for Teaching Kids Other Grammar Skills

Check out the button below for tips on teaching specific grammar skills.


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