3 creative activities for practicing prepositions of place

I had to teach prepositions of place the other day and suddenly remembered something that I hadn’t done for years. This can actually be a great grammar point which can be done in class in a really fun way… if you’re willing to get creative. Ok, here we go then with a short description of three fun but easy classroom activities.

What do you need?

  1. A whiteboard and a projector, or a set of handouts if you don’t have access to a projector
  2. Some images from the ‘Rooms and Furniture’ set from ELTPics.

1. The ‘What’s in the room?’ race

You can set this activity up very quickly.

  • Find an image of a room with ‘plenty going on’ in it.
  • Get two identical copies of it.
  • Now, imagine the image below is either being projected on to your whiteboard or is on a handout in front of the students.
  • Explain that you will give a sentence and the students need to find the object you mention.
  • All you have to do is give examples: ‘There is a cushion on the bed.’
    The students circle the object in question; the fastest person earns a point for their team (set the class up in teams up as you wish).
  • Give as many examples as you want.

This is a good one to do to inject a bit of energy into the lesson and to get the creative juices flowing.

ELTPics courtesy of @fionamau
ELTPics courtesy of @fionamau

2. The interior designer game

You can set this activity up just as quickly.

  • Find an image of a room with ‘plenty going on’ in it, yet one which also has a lot of interesting empty spaces.
  • Get two identical copies of it.
  • Again, imagine the image below is either being projected on to your whiteboard or is on a handout in front of the students.
  • Explain that you will give a sentence and the students need to draw the object you mention in the correct location.
  • All you have to do is give examples: ‘There is a clock on the wall between the curtains.’
  • The students draw the object in question; either the fastest person earns a point for their team, or you could award points on ‘artistic’ merit.
  • Give as many examples as you want.

This one is good for getting the creative juices flowing, as they are actually embodying the message received in visual form.

ELTPics courtesy of @sandymillin
ELTPics courtesy of @sandymillin

3. The ‘What’s in ‘my’ room?’ challenge

Guess what? You can set this activity up really quickly.

  • Find two images of rooms with ‘relatively little going on’ in them.
  • Now, imagine the images below are either being projected on to your whiteboard or are on a handout in front of the students.
  • The class can be split into two groups; each group draws a number of items on their particular picture (each group is assigned a different picture).
  • Explain that the students will prepare sentences in a group related to the location of their drawn items and the students in the other group(s) need to find the objects they mention.
  • All they have to do is give each other examples: ‘There is a book on the table.’
  • The students draw the objects described.
  • The give as many examples as they want.
ELTPics courtesy of @CliveSir & @mattledding
ELTPics courtesy of @CliveSir & @mattledding

This is a good one for making the activity a lot more autonomous and for getting the students communicating with one another, rather than just you.

Alternatives?

If you come up with alternatives, please let me know!

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25 thoughts on “3 creative activities for practicing prepositions of place”

  1. Cool stuff. I always had trouble finding the right photos for this. Instead, I’d have students draw their own scenes. They often drew more complicated pictures that required a better grasp of description, including prepositions. Then they described this picture to their partners, who would draw what they heard and ask clarification questions as need be.

    1. Thanks, Tyson. The ‘drawing their own’ scenes is a good one, although, like you say, they can get super ambitious and require lots of extra language input. While that in itself is no bad thing, it can drag the activity out way beyond the time it remains fun and it can draw you away from the focus of the lesson. I like these half way points, as they give enough of a scaffold while still allowing for creativity.

  2. I may try one of these exercises with my students but have them take their own pictures. I feel the connection with their rooms will help them remember the prepositions used (along with the vocab, grammar etc.)

  3. Hi Adam,
    I have noticed my students really struggling with prepositions of place (they’re all German) so I am going to try these activities tomorrow – thanks for the inspiration!
    Rachel

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