How to Teach the "Before and After" Prenumber Concept

Updated on February 7, 2018
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I love to share lesson plans with other teachers and homeschooling parents.

Before, Between, and After


Teaching Before, After and In Between to Kids

Knowing the location of things is important in math. In later math activities, kids will need to answer questions about position and use their spacial reasoning skills. To prepare them for this, we will begin by learning the prenumber math concepts of "before, after, and in between" using games, play activities and fun interaction.

How to Teach Before, After and Between

Teaching the Before and After Prenumber Concepts to Kids

Gather up some of your child's favorite toys. You will need 3. Stuffed animals, toy people, cars, or any favorite two that you can pretend wants to move, works well.

1. Line them up as if they are going somewhere. For animals set a bowl in front of the first one and tell your child they are all going to the bowl to get a drink. This helps your child understand their positional relationship, by understanding the the first one in line will come before the others to get a drink. Some other ideas for lining up the toys in this step include: Placing them in front of a gate, putting cars in front of a garage, putting people in front of a booth. Ensure your child knows they are lined up to go somewhere.

2. On index cards write the words BEFORE, BETWEEN and AFTER. Label each toy with it's position in line.

3. Tell the child the position of the toys using the words before, between and after. Talk to them about who will arrive at the bowl first, and explain that means he comes "before" the other toys. Next explain who will arrive at the bowl last and explain that this means the toy comes "after" the others. Explain to the child that the one in the middle is "in between."

4. Practice lining up the toys in different patterns, making sure that the toys take different positions in line. This way the child can see that the label "before" does not apply to a specific toy, but rather to the position in line.

5. Occasionally, ask the child what position a toy holds. If they cannot offer the correct answer, simply show them until they are able to answer independently.

Reinforcing the Concept of Before, Between and After

Incorporating the Prenumber Concept Into Daily Living Activities

Use the prenumber concept of before, between and after in daily living situations to reinforce it to your child.

1. Line up shopping items at the check out counter and ask your child which is "before, after or between."

2. Try it with people. Line up several people at the door and ask your child who comes before the others in line.

3. Practice, practice, practice. Counters, chairs, most any toy object can be used to practice. Line them up in different patterns and have your child guess at their position.

3. Print worksheets from the internet and practice before, between and after using these concepts with real numbers. Number line worksheets with missing numbers allow you to ask your child, "What missing number comes after 5?" "What missing number comes before 2?"

4. Keep practicing and don't forget to enjoy your time with the child!

Sing After Me on Sesame Street

More Worksheets - for Teaching Before and After

To reinforce the idea of before and after, have children practice with worksheets.

  • Before and After Worksheets from Kids Learning Station

    Follow the directions and circle what comes before the tire, or after the apple. Draw a picture of the shape that comes before or after another shape. Choose a thumbnail below to learn more about these worksheets.

  • Before and After Worksheets from

    Children think about a time of the day, such as breakfast, then they choose things that happen before and after breakfast. Cut and glue the pictures where they belong for this preschool level "before and after" worksheet.

© 2010 hsschulte

Questions or Feedback about Teaching Kids Before, After and Between? - Leave them HERE!

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    • profile image


      7 days ago

      Need to clear a doubt

    • profile image 

      5 weeks ago

      How will you teach "before 'after' and 'between' to KG kids

    • profile image


      5 weeks ago

      I want to learn how to spell and read

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      This is very educational. Thanks so much. I Homeschool my kids and I'm always online looking for fun ways to help my kids learn. This is a very good way. Thank you!!

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      How we teach before number plz help me

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      My kid has difficulty with before and after but she uses it in her everyray vocabulary. Something so simple and it is hard for a child to fully understand.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      How we teach before numbers??

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Lol...was busy watching the Sesame Street video. How cute and educational that show really was. Love how you teach the before, after, and in between.

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      Initially i taught my son the before after in-between concept as u said and he was doing pretty well. Suddenly he is blank. He does not know d before after concept n nor is he able to do it with d numbers. I am very worried n losing patience. Pls help.

      Thank you


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