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How to Teach Directions and Positions to Young Children

Updated on March 10, 2015
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I am a certified teacher and had been teaching for more than 30 years. My hubs sum up all my knowledge about education. See you around.

Teaching Directions

Teaching directions and positions is not easy. Most of the time, the young children will be confused. They will not be able to immediately grasp the meaning of the words, but it will be fun if they can finally decipher the meaning of the words.

If you teach the direction and position use a lot of examples and visual aids in order for the kids to understand you better. If you give concrete examples they can relate more to the lesson which will help them understand the lesson better.

The first directions that I am going to discuss are:

Up and Down

Activities for Teaching Up and Down:


Singing is probably one of the best activities that the kids can do. Kids love to sing so there is no problem if you let them sing the direction.

Here’s an example. Sing this with the tune of “The Wheels of the Bus Go Round and Round.”

The Kids in the Room Go Up and Down

Activity Sheets:

Directions for activity sheets:

  1. Put a ring around the picture that is going up.
  2. Put a ring around the picture that is going down.
  3. Color the picture green if the picture shows going up and yellow if it shows going down.
  4. Box the boy who is going up.
  5. Cross out the animal that is going down.
  6. Check the picture that is going up and cross out the picture that is going doing.

You can make various kinds of work sheets that you know will enhance learning and at the same time trigger the interest of the young kids.

Right and Left Directions:


Top, Middle, Bottom
Top, Middle, Bottom
In front
In front

Right and Left

Stand in front of the children and turn your back to them so that when you teach right and left, they will not get confused. If you are facing them, they will not be able to get exactly what is right and left.

Raise your right hand and say, “Children this is my right hand. Everybody raise your right hand. Shake your right hand, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

Raise your left hand and say, “This is my left hand. Everybody raise your left hand and shake it this way; one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

“Now let’s face to the right and face to the left and face to the right and face to the left.”

After that you can let the kids sit down.

Activity Sheets

Directions for activity sheets:

  1. Color all the objects at the right.
  2. Color all objects at the left.
  3. Draw a circle around the left object.
  4. Draw a circle around the right object.
  5. Color the animals that are facing right.
  6. Color the animals that are facing left.
  7. Encircle the boy with the toy at his right.
  8. Encircle the girl with the toy at her left.


Top, Middle, Bottom

You can explain these 3 positions by using the shelf inside the classroom. Put a ball on top of the shelf, a book in the middle and a bag at the bottom.

Explain to the kids how the 3 positions are used. After explaining the positions, ask them where the things are.

If the kids do not understand the positions yet, give another example.

Over and Under

You can demonstrate these two positions by using hand actions. Say, “Let’s put our right hand over our head then we’ll put our left hand under our chin. Let’s face to the right and face to the left. Then we’ll all turn around.”

In front, Behind, Beside and Between

Choose two pupils. Let one child stand beside you and the other behind you. Now you can explain what behind and beside mean.

Next, let the child who was behind you stand beside you making sure you are between the two pupils. You can now explain what between means.

You can also let one child hide behind the door then ask the class where is the child. The children will answer, “behind the door.”

Explain to the children that you are in front of them. They will be able to visualize the meaning of in front.

Hands-on activities will make the kids more interested in the lesson which enhances more effective learning.

In and On

Put objects on the table and tell the kids that the things are on the table. Put a ball under the table and explain that what under means.

Directions and positions is a long lesson so you have to put more time in order for the kids to understand the lesson well.

You can follow the activities for the directions and add more activities for enhancement.


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      Setank Setunk 10 months ago

      The problem lies in the useless practice of abstract ideas or concepts in education. Spacial differentials and direction develop naturally and children need only learn language to communicate them or understand their description by others.