It can be difficult for children to learn about directional concepts up/down, top/bottom/ over/under, high/low, next to or beside/ forward/backward, in/out, near/far. There are several games you can play which can help to reinforce these concepts.
- In/ Out games: Give your child a small container with several objects in it which need to be removed, the child will move from dumping to removing one by one. Use Out/In often so your child will understand the concept.
- Where’s the __________? Name a toy in sight and let your child reach for it “It’s BESIDE your leg” “It’s ON your shoe” etc. Toys can be hidden under, over, behind etc and as your child grows and the task becomes easier for them, the object can be hidden further away.
- If you have a swing set, use your body and your child’s body as a means of explaining directional concepts “Mommy is behind you…” “Daddy is in front of you”.
- Ring O Ring O Rosie – Instead of last line “we all fall down” you can adapt it and say “we all jump up” etc.
- Hokey Pokey – This game will will help to teach body concepts and positional concepts through songs. Using hand under hand demonstrate with your child, or let your child feel how your body is moving. Model the action and verbally prompt your child as they follow along.
- “If you’re happy and you know it” is a good opportunity to practice positional concepts through song.
- Simon Says – Call out more than one activity to increase the challenge such as “ Simon Says touch your right hand to your left knee”.
Simon Says Exercise Ball Style
This is an easy way to adapt a timeless game of Simon Says but add in more range of motion, muscle strengthening and spatial relationships. The whole family can get involved too! It is more of a challenge when you use a large, exercise ball but if that is not available grab a large beach ball which is lighter weight. No balls available? Grab a pillow. Just grab something large enough that requires two hands to hold.
Give your child playing an exercise ball or a large beach ball. Provide the usual directions of a Simon Says game but add in some additional steps. For example “Simon says….”
- Put the ball over your head.
- Hold the ball on your right side.
- Hold the ball on your left side.
- Squeeze the ball between your knees.
- Put the ball behind your back.
- Sit on the ball.
- Roll on your belly over the ball.
- Put the ball on top of the desk.
- Hold the ball next to the chair.
- Place the ball between your back and the wall.
- Touch your left foot on the ball.
- Put both hands on the side of the ball.
- Place your right foot under the ball.
- Touch the ball with your left foot, right hand and your chin.
- Bounce the ball three times.