How to Teach Opposites in Preschool

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When teaching preschool, one of the concepts children need to learn is opposites. When you teach this, it is important to use activities that make it easier for them to comprehend this abstraction. Preschoolers learn best through play, and, therefore, wherever possible, it is best to incorporate games to make the idea more real. At the end of the activity, take a few minutes to summarize what the children have learned by writing it out on the chalk board.

How to Teach Opposites in Preschool
(E. J. Sanders/Demand Media)
Step 1

Teach children to sing nursery rhymes that include opposites such as “Peas Porridge” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Explain the words that convey opposite meanings by writing them down on the chalk board.

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media
Step 2

Read out loud books that have opposites, such as Dr. Seuss’ “Go Dog, Go!” and “The Foot Book.” Understanding the words is easier when set in a context of an appealing story.

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media
Step 3

Demonstrate the meanings of opposites wherever possible. For example, to explain that the opposite of “full” is “empty,” show a glass filled to the brim with water and another one that has nothing in it.

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media
Step 4

Have children form a circle and then give instructions using opposites in a game of “Simon Says.” Get children to act out opposites that involve movements such as “sit-stand,” “laugh-cry,” “forward-backward,” “wake-sleep,” “yell-whisper,” “fast-slow” and “smile-frown.”

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media
Step 5

Glue pictures to express an action or an adjective on flash cards and write out the respective words in bold, capital letters on the card. For example, use a picture of a smiling clown and write “SMILE” below it. Make sure the pictures are clear enough to convey the meaning correctly because preschoolers won’t be able to actually read the words. Mix up all the cards and have a child pick one card and then ask him to sort through the rest to find its opposite word.

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media
Step 6

Distribute one flash card to each child. Ask all children to look at their cards and then move around the classroom to find out who has the matching opposite. Collect all the cards, mix them up and play the game again.

E. J. Sanders/Demand Media

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