Classroom Activities to Teach Prepositional Phrases

Prepositions, words that specify time, direction and place, work with a noun or pronoun to form a prepositional phrase. An understanding of prepositions helps students identify the subject of a sentence as well as identify the prepositional phrase in a sentence. Rote memorization of a list of prepositions will not help students remember what they are and how they are used as well as a few well-chosen activities. Teach prepositions in your classroom with these fun, mind-enhancing exercises.

Draw It:

Every student will need an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper. Fold the paper to form small squares. Show the students how to draw a cube and tell them to draw a cube in every square on their paper. Choose an animal, or let them choose their own animal. Draw it in every square to demonstrate a preposition. For example, the rabbit is in the cube, on the cube, by the cube, or around the cube. Tape the squares inside their English journal.

Rap It:

Divide the class into groups of three or four students and give each group papers with a list of prepositions so every child can have their own copy. Tell each group that they have ten minutes to create a rap song to teach prepositions to the rest of the groups.

Read It:

Read children’s books that include prepositions. Bears in the Night, by Jan and Stan Berenstein, Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins, The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden or Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood are all books that include scores of prepositional phrases.

Write It:

Fold large sheets of what paper in half and sew the center to hold it together. After reading several books that contain prepositional phrases to your class, as students to write and illustrate a book full of prepositions. This is an excellent opportunity to have two children work together. This activity can be shortened to a lesson asking students to write and illustrate prepositional poems.

Show It:

Place a sturdy desk in front of the classroom. As each child takes a turn, hand out a card. The child will demonstrate the preposition by sitting on, under, around or through the desk. The rest of the students will try to guess the preposition. A similar activity uses a box and a ball. The student uses the ball to illustrate the preposition. 

Play It:

Try the Gumball Game found at EFL Teaching Recipes. It is simple to use with the entire class. You only need three simple items to play the game. The first is actually two- two sets of cards.  One set is for prepositions and the other set is for nouns on them; a white board and a marker. The Gumball Game can be as long or as short as you want.

Prepositional fun will help your students retain the ability to identify a preposition with ease. You students will be having such a good time, they won’t even realize they are learning. When you are ready to teach prepositions, choose an activity that you know they will love.