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How to Teach Top, Middle and Bottom

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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 at preschool or kindergarten age. They will need to understand top, middle and bottom well before moving on to first grade math.

Using Activities

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

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.

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.

Using 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.


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




Using Sign Language

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.

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© 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.

Mabrouk on December 30, 2014:

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Agatha on December 29, 2014:

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

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!

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