In order to follow and give directions, one must understand prepositions! 

If a child is having difficulty with receptive language/following directions, prepositions may be to blame. 

Learn how to teach prepositions using evidence based practice here. Just keep reading!


For those who need it, let's review what prepositions are.

They are location words that describe where an object/person is located with reference to another object.

Some common ones include:

  • in
  • on 
  • under
  • over
  • above
  • in front of behind
  • behind
  • around
  • next to
  • beside
  • in the middle

Evidence-Based Practice For Prepositions

I reviewed the article, Nicholas, K., Alt, M., & Hauwiller, E. (2019). Variability of input in preposition learning by preschoolers with developmental language disorder and typically-developing language. Child Language Teaching and Therapy.

The main takeaway is that children with developmental language disorders may learn prepositions better IF the images are consistent (not varying).

This rang true for me!

Children with developmental language disorders often have difficulty with vocabulary.

Therefore, when working on prepositions, we need to be careful with what we are actually working on! Keeping images consistent will help to ensure we are only working on prepositions and not anything else! 

Prepositions Materials/Therapy Ideas

Step 1

When working on any new skill, I like to start with concrete/drill-like practice (even if it is built into a game for lots of motivation).

 I use the flashcards below because they are concrete and can be brought up in a second. NO-PREPPING!

Step 2

Once the child makes progress, I "up" the game. To do this, I vary images BUT work only on 2 prepositions at a time! 

 If a child is flying through step 1 during a session, no problem! You can bring up the materials below in one second with NO-PREP!!!!

Step 3

Last, I mix the prepositions and images. To accomplish this, I may use materials that I created or use real toys/objects in my therapy room!

I tend to use real objects but in a pinch, I can use something like this:

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