Choose the classification system you would like to use:

Newsletter sign up

Sign up to the monthly newsletter to hear about the latest free resources.

Sign me up to:





Language and Communication Language of order in space eg first last middle end  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The child demonstrates understanding and use of spatial language of order - first next last beginning middle end and begins to relate these to their meanings in time

Log in to Commtap to...

* Avoid seeing ads. *Add pages to your "favourites" so you can come back to them easily. * See a list of pages you've viewed on the site * Add or edit pages on the site. * Help Commtap to get funding - logging into the site gives us more accurate information about site usage which we can use with funders. * Avoid seeing this box! * It's free to login to Commtap

Early years skill:Shape, space and measure
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Shape Space and Measures
P-scales/Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP48
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Sammy Snake's Shopping

Toy snake (or some other character)


3 each of fruit, vegetables, cooked foods.

Whiteboard and pen

1. Set out the food in a row of 3, each different type on a different table.

2. Explain to the children that Sammy Snake is hungry, but doesn't know the names of the foods. He needs them to listen to what he says and go and get him the food he wants, in the basket.

3. The children take it in turn to go shopping with the basket. Sammy gives instructions e.g. 'I want the first fruit and the last vegetable'.

4. The children can take a turn to be Sammy.

Monkey's Washing

Monkey (or some other character)

Washing line


Some clothes (dolls clothes are good)

1. Put up the washing line where the children can reach it. (You may need to fix it with sticky tape).

2. Explain that Monkey is doing his washing and needs help to peg it out.

3. One person helps monkey to choose 3 items to 'wash' and then instructs someone else to hang them out.

4. Monkey is particular about how the clothes go on the line, and gives instructions such as 'the coat goes in the middle' 'the shorts go at the end'.

If any of the children have fine motor difficulties, you will need to help them with the pegs. You can also leave 3 pegs on the line to help with this.

Wind up toys race

3 wind up toys

'beginning' 'middle' 'end' written on cards and finishing line ribbon

First next last written on pictures of gold silver and bronze medals

1. Explain that you are going to have races. First you need to set out the course - where will the beginning middle and end be?

2. Everyone winds up one toy, and then set them all going together.

3. Let them race, and see which one comes first, next, last. Award medals accordingly

Make sure the course isn't too long!

You may need to help the children wind up the toys.

You could keep score - e.g. how many times each toy came first / last.

You could video them with a digital camera to add interest if necessary, or to use later.

This activity will also help to build the link between order in space and order in time: the first toy over the line (time) will also be the first toy in the line of toys (space).

Visual Timetable

The visual timetable used in class, or in your small group / 1:1 session

Use 'first, next, last' and 'beginning, end' to talk about the activities you are going to do, or have finished doing.

This is not an activity in itself, but is easy to do when you are using the visual timetable.

By doing this activity you are helping to build the link between order in space - the order of the items on the visual timetable - and order in time - the order in which the items are actually done.

Life cycles

Pictures sequences of simple animal life cycles

First next last, beginning middle end prompt card / frame

1. Cut up each sequence.

2. Have the child stick them in the right order on paper or into the sequencing frame.

3. Have the child write or dictate to you a sentence to describe each picture. E.g. 'At the beginning the butterfly is just an egg.'

This activity helps to build the link between order in time - the order in which simple events happen - and order in space - the order in which you put the steps in these events down on paper using the pictures.

For more activities to build links between a sequence of pictures and events, see: sequences three pictures showing a practical activity and picture sequencing".

Ads on this page are provided by Google Adsense - and their presence does not imply any endorsement by Commtap. Report a problem with an ad on this page. Log in (for free) to avoid seeing ads.