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Language and Communication On under in out  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Pupils use familiar words to describe position e.g. on and under, in and out.

Early years skill:Shape, space and measure
Early years typical range:30-50m
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum skill:Maths Shape Space and Measures
P-scales/Nat. Curriculum level:P7
TAP skill:Language
TAP level:TAP42
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Hiding game


3 common containers e.g. cup, box and hat

Small toy e.g. car/ball


Encourage the child to close their eyes and hide the toy 'under' one container

While the child is trying to find the toy model the word 'under'. "Is it under the hat", "Is it under the box"

When the child finds the toy encourage them to say where it is.

Swap roles the child now has a turn to hide the toy. Using a teddy or another child, pretend teddy is closing his eyes/or ask other child to close eyes and ask the child "Where shall we hide it?" The child then has to say where.

Start with just one preposition and give lots of models of e.g. "under"

For expression give forced alternative e.g. "is it under the hat or under the box"

When the child has learnt 'under' introduce another preposition and move on to discriminating between e.g. 'in and under'

Use sign for 'under' along with the word to help understanding

Use everyday situations to model the word 'under'

Understanding and using "on" and "under" through physical play

Class room furniture

PE furniture

Playground furniture

Play games in a small group sitting on the chair and sitting under the table, crawling on a mat or carpet and crawling under a table or chair. Comment on what the child is doing e.g. ' are on the mat' or ' are under the table'

Can the child give instructions about who must go under or on a piece of furniture?

This activity is much more fun in a PE setting or a playground if you can arrange it.

Label the children's activities with clear 2 or 3 word phrases.

Repeat the phrases over and over again to give lots of learning opportunities.

These concepts are taught in contrasting pairs to illustrate the concepts clearly.

Understanding "on" and "under" using small toys

Small plastic animals or Playmobil people.

Boxes and containers to hide the small toys.


Make this a fun game! Can some children not look while a toy is hidden by another child etc.?

Understanding "in" and "under" when looking at pictures

Give lots of rewards for success and correct mistakes by saying ‘Look........this is on. Dog is on the box’ etc.

Understanding "in" and "out" through physical play
Understanding "in" and "out" using small toys

Keep the activities fun and snappy!

Understanding "in" and "out" when looking at pictures


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