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How to Teach Top, Middle and Bottom

Updated on September 14, 2014

Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom to Kids | A Homeschooling Resource for Parents

There are several words describing position and location that a child needs to understand before moving on to learning math concepts. Those positional concepts include top, middle and bottom. There is a chance that your child already understands these concepts, but it is a good idea to take the time to ensure they understand around the age of preschool or kindergarten. They will need to understand top, middle and bottom well before moving on to first grade math.

Photo by Kelly sue

Top, Middle, Bottom Blocks
Top, Middle, Bottom Blocks

Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom with Activities

How to Teach

With 3 different color blocks, make a tower. Begin by talking to the child about which color is on the top, bottom and in the middle. Don't begin by quizzing the child, just talk to him, or her, about it. Rearrange the blocks and discusses how this has changed the color that is on the top, middle and bottom.

Top Middle Bottom
Top Middle Bottom

Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom

Using Word Cards for Visual Learners

Write the words top, middle and bottom on 3 separate index cards. Use these cards to label something such as a cup, or doll, that will stand on it's own. Talk to the child about which is the top, middle and bottom. Do this with the object both standing and lying on the table.

Photo by HSSchulte

Label an object that is lying down to ensure kids know where the TOP is located.

Label an object that is lying down to ensure kids know where the TOP is located.
Label an object that is lying down to ensure kids know where the TOP is located.

Top, Middle and Bottom Applied to You

Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom of Your Own Body

Point to your own top (top of head), bottom (feet), middle (stomach). You can take this a step further and do this in front of the mirror, or have the child trace themselves on a large sheet of paper and label their top, bottom and middle.

Using Snacks to Teach Top, Middle and Bottom - Stacking Food for Top, Middle and Bottom Reinforcement

Using snack food, let the child arrange it from top to bottom. Crackers and cheese make good practice foods. Ask the child to place a cracker on the bottom, cheese in the middle and another cracker on top. This idea can be used with bread and lunch meat to make a sandwich also. Allowing the child to manipulate objects on his own will help them retain the concept of top, middle and bottom.

Photo by StevenDepolo

Worksheets to Teach Top, Middle and Bottom

Free Worksheets Online

After you child has the concept of top, middle and bottom, let them practice and reinforce it by doing worksheets. Here are some free ones available online:

Top, Middle and Bottom Worksheets - Free

Top ASL
Top ASL

ASL Sign Language for Top, Middle and Bottom

Signing the Top, Middle and Bottom

When teaching children that struggle with the concept of top, middle and bottom, sign language can be very helpful. Sign language and PECS are often used to teach abstract concepts to children with special-needs. Here is the sign for Top, Middle and Bottom in American Sign Language. There are also some links to Picture Exchange System (PECS) photos of top, middle and bottom to help children visualize the concept.

The sign can be used whenever the word is spoken to reinforce the idea. The PECS can be pulled out and viewed daily, colored, and discussed to help the child grasp the concepts. Repeat the activity of viewing the PECS until the child has a good understanding of top, middle, bottom.

Photos by HSSchulte

Bottom

Bottom
Bottom

Top and Bottom by Dr. Seuss

Comments on Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom to Kids

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      littlelovegoes 5 years ago

      Informative site. Very good info!

    • Rankography profile image

      Rankography 5 years ago

      Interesting lens. Thanks for sharing.

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Helpful! Thanks!

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      Agatha 2 years ago

      What lintbaeirg knowledge. Give me liberty or give me death.

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      Mabrouk 2 years ago

      Basically to follow up on the up-date of this topic on your webstie and would wish to let you know how much I prized the time you took to generate this helpful post. Within the post, you spoke on how to actually handle this issue with all comfort. It would be my personal pleasure to get together some more ideas from your blog and come as much as offer others what I have benefited from you. Many thanks for your usual great effort.

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      Anonymous 19 months ago

      It's an informative article which has interesting ideas about how to teach top, middle and bottom. It'll be ver helpful for the teachers to elaborate prepositions.

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