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How to Teach Top, Middle, and Bottom to a Child

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How to Teach the Concepts of Top, Middle, and Bottom to a Child

How to Teach the Concepts of Top, Middle, and Bottom to a Child

7 Ways to Teach Top, Middle, and Bottom: 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 at preschool or kindergarten age. They will need to understand top, middle, and bottom well before moving on to first-grade math.

1. Use Blocks to Teach Positional Concepts

With three different-colored 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

2. Use Word Cards for Visual Learners

  1. Write the words "top," "middle," and "bottom" on three separate index cards.
  2. Use these cards to label something such as a cup, doll, or another small object that can stand on its own.
  3. Talk to the child about which is the top, middle, and bottom.
  4. Do this with the object both standing and lying on the table.
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.

3. Use a 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 Reinforcement

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

4. Use Stacked Snacks

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. Or use bread and lunch meat to make a sandwich.

Allowing the child to manipulate objects on his own will help them retain the concept of top, middle, and bottom.

5. Use Worksheets

After your child has the concept down, let them practice and reinforce it by doing worksheets. Here are some free ones available online:

Top, Middle and Bottom Worksheets - Free

6. Use Sign Language

Sign language can be very helpful for this lesson. Sign language and PECS are often used to teach abstract concepts to children with special needs. Learn the signs for top, middle, and bottom in American Sign Language. See the video below for ideas.

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.

The Sign for "Bottom"

The Sign for "Bottom"

7. Watch Videos That Introduce the Positions

Below, you'll find two great videos to share with a child to teach these concepts.

© 2010 hsschulte

Comments on Teaching Top, Middle and Bottom to Kids

Pratibha on February 17, 2020:

, easy to understand. Thank you

Anonymous on December 19, 2015:

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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Agatha on December 29, 2014:

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anonymous on December 26, 2012:

Helpful! Thanks!

Rankography on August 12, 2011:

Interesting lens. Thanks for sharing.

littlelovegoes on July 31, 2011:

Informative site. Very good info!