Preposition of place has always been one of my favourite units to teach. The grammar and vocabulary are pretty simple and the students seem to enjoy practicing it. However, it can be a bit of a challenge to come up with fun, interesting ESL preposition games to spice things up a bit.
Not to worry, however, check out my list of the best preposition ESL games and activities to get you started.
Let’s get into the preposition games ESL that you might want to consider using with your students.
Preposition of Place Activities and Games for ESL
Okay, so if you’re looking for some preposition games and activities to use with your English learners, then you’re definitely in the right place. Keep on reading to see some of our best ones that you can try out today. Let’s get to it!
This is a classic, 4-skills ESL activity/game that is ideal for just about any level of student and almost any topic. The way it works is that you find a reading passage (or make your own) related to the topic of the day. In this case, it would have at least a few prepositions of place.
Then, you read the passage out more quickly than you normally would for the level of the student. You want them to understand about 50% of what they heard. Then, students have to work together in pairs or small groups to piece the story together.
You can read it 1-2 more times and then have students compare their answers to the original. Check it out here: Dictogloss ESL Listening Activity.
#2 ESL Prepositions of Place Game: Memory Games
The topic of places is IDEAL for memory games. There are lots of different things you can do, but one of my favourites is to show students a simple city map. You know the kind I’m talking about: with square or rectangle buildings and a few different streets.
Have students study the map for a couple of minutes, and then take the picture off the screen. Ask them some questions and they can either answer as a class orally, or you can have students write down their answers. Ask them things like, “Where is the bakery?” or, “Is the movie theatre across the street from the bank?”
Do you want to find out more about one some of our favourite preposition of place activities? More ideas for this style of ESL game here: Memory Games for ESL Students.
#3: Error Correction Relay Race
#4: Is that Sentence Correct?
If you’re teaching prepositions to beginners, you may want to try out this quick grammar review activity. The way it works is that mix up a few sentences in terms of word order. Then, students have to unscramble the sentences to make grammatically correct ones.
If you want to challenge more advanced level students, include 1-2 mistakes in terms of spelling or subject-verb agreement. Then, have students fix the mistakes AND also unscramble the sentences.
Do you want to know more about this preposition activity? Check it out here: Grammar Review ESL Game.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 146 Pages - 06/18/2020 (Publication Date)
#5: Information Gap Activities
The way ESL information gap activities work is that there is a single set of information. Then, each pair or student gets that entire set of information, but each student gets only half of it. Then, they have to work together to uncover the entire information set.
Designed well, they can be an extremely rewarding, but challenging ESL activity and perhaps one of the most useful things you can do in class.
This kind of info gap activity lends itself extremely well to prepositions. For example, there might be a city map, but it’s uncertain where all the shops are in relation to each other.
Are you interested in finding out more about these preposition games for ESL? Then, head over here to find out more details: ESL Information Gap Activities.
#6: Flashcard Sentences
This very simple ESL game is ideal for kindergarten, or other young children. You can hold up a card with either a word or picture (prepositions in this case) and the student has to make a correct sentence with that word. If correct, they get the card. If incorrect, it goes back into the pile.
Flashcards are one of the best preposition of place ESL games. Learn more about them here: ESL Flashcard Activities.
#7 Preposition Game ESL: Concentration
This is one of my favourite ESL memory games. It’s ideal for beginners who are learning about prepositions for the first time. Make some cards with words (in front of, behind, next to, across from, etc.) and then have a corresponding picture.
Students mix up the cards, and place them face-down in an organized fashion. Then, they choose two and if correct, keep the cards. If incorrect, they place them back down in the same spot and the next person goes.
Learn more about this fun game here: Concentration ESL Vocabulary Game.
#8: Picture Prompt
If you suspect that your students have already learned most of the preposition of place vocabulary words at some point during their English studies, you may want to use this for a quick lead-in to the unit. Put a picture on the screen of a city for example that lends itself to prepositions.
Then, have students talk with a partner about what they see. Mention that they should try to include prepositions that they may know.
If you have beginner students, you may want to save this activity until the end of the unit.
Find out more about it here: Picture Prompt ESL Warmer.
#9: Use Some Videos to Teach Preposition of Place
I’m ALL about using videos in my ESL classroom. They’re a fun way to introduce a unit, or to round one out. There are a million and one things you can do with them. If you take a look at English Central, or YouTube, you’ll find a ton that deal with prepositions.
Of course, you should include some activities along with them to make the most out of your valuable class time. Learn more here about one of the best ways to teach prepositions of place: Videos for the ESL Classroom.
#10: ESL Preposition of Place Songs and Chants
If you teach kids, then consider using some songs and chants in your classes. Not musical? Not to worry. There are lots of good ones on YouTube so have a search and you’ll definitely be able to find one that’s appropriate for whatever age and level of students you’re teaching.
#11: Prepositions Memory Game
Try out this simple online quiz for prepositions with your students:
#12: Journaling about Prepositions of Place
If I teach writing, I’m ALL about having my students do journalling. I either have a few minutes at the beginning, or end of class. Or, I assign it for homework.
If you want your students to brush up on prepositions of place, assign the topic, “Around your neighbourhood.”
More details here: Journaling for ESL Students.
#13: Yes or No Questions and ESL Prepositions of Place
If you teach beginners, the “be” verb is often one of the first grammar lessons you’ll teach. The details are pretty simple, expect questions can get a little bit tricky.
And, it’s often ideal to combine this grammar lesson with preposition vocabulary. You can make yes/no questions like the following:
- Is there a pencil on the desk?
- Is there a paper under my chair?
- And so on
To learn more about games and activities you can do to work on yes/no questions and answers with your students, you’ll want to check out the following resource: ESL Yes/No Questions. Many of them lend themselves extremely well to prepositions.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 278 Pages - 07/12/2020 (Publication Date)
#14 Preposition Games ESL: Whiteboard Activities
I don’t know what it is but for some reason, all my students seem to love drawing on the board. Maybe it’s the novelty factor, maybe it’s something else, but I like to play a few whiteboard games every semester. These kind of games and activities lend themselves well to prepositions.
You can find out more right here: ESL Whiteboard Activities.
#15 Prepositions of Place Game: A to Z ESL Game
If you know that your students have learned at least some prepositions of place before, you an use the A-Z warmer at the beginning on class. The best part about it is that it helps students to activate their prior knowledge that they may have.
The way it works is that students (in groups of 2-3) write the alphabet on a piece of paper. Then, they have to think of as many prepositions of place as possible (1/letter) in the allotted amount of time. For example:
Find out more about this quick ESL warm-up here: A to Z ESL Game.
#16: Prepositions Games
#17: Preposition ESL Game: Board Games
Did you know that it’s really easy to make your own board games for your EFL students? Once you get the hang of it, it takes only a few minutes.
In this case, you’d want to make one related to your school. On the board, you could include questions like the following:
- Where is the gym?
- Is the cafeteria next to the principal’s office?
- Where is the bathroom on this floor?
Do you want to know more about this fun preposition game? Find out more about this activity here: ESL Board Games.
#18: Dialogue Substitution
#19: Eliciting Preposition Vocabulary Words
Unless your students are absolute beginners, it’s likely that they already know some of the most common prepositions. If this is the case, I recommend using some eliciting techniques at the start of the class.
There are two main reasons to consider this. The first is to find out what the students already know so that you can target your lesson on what they don’t. The second is to help activate students’ prior knowledge which can make learning new things easier.
There are a number of ways to elicit information in language classes. Here are a few ideas: How to Elicit Information.
#20: Sentence Structure Activities
Time spent on building better sentences is certainly never wasted time in a language class! Word order with prepositions of place for ESL students can be a bit tricky with beginners. For example, is it, “The ball is on the desk,” or, “The desk is on the ball.” It’s not always obvious for beginners!
To give students some practise with sentences, here are a few ideas:
ESL Sentence Structure Activities and Games.
#21: Hot Potato
#22: Dictation Preposition Activity ESL
I know that dictation has kind of fallen out of favour these days as the communicative style of language teaching and learning is all the rage these days. However, it does certainly have some value to it and can be a nice way to review vocabulary or grammar concepts. Plus, it’s great for the introverted kind of students who appreciate a bit of quiet time within a normally very busy and loud language class.
In this case, say some sentences to your students that contain prepositions. They have to write them down in their notebooks using correct spelling and punctuation. Try out some dictation practice today.
#23: There Is/There Are
Prepositions of place involve a lot of sentences using there is and there are. Help students master this important grammatical concept with some of these fun ideas:
#24: Prepositions of Place ESL Vocab Auction
#25: Simon Says
Play a game of “Simon Says” using prepositions of place. Give students commands using different prepositions, such as “Simon says, ‘Put your pen under the desk'” or “Simon says, ‘Stand next to the door.'” Students must follow the instructions only when the phrase begins with “Simon says.” This game helps reinforce understanding and usage of prepositions of place.
#26: Treasure Hunt
Hide small objects or pictures around the classroom or outdoor area. Provide students with a set of clues using prepositions of place, such as “The pencil is inside the box” or “The ball is under the chair.” Students use the clues to find the hidden items, practicing prepositions of place in a fun and interactive way.
#27: Preposition Story Building
Provide students with a set of prepositions of place flashcards or word cards. In groups or pairs, they must create a short story or describe a scene using as many prepositions of place as possible. Encourage creativity and storytelling skills while incorporating the target language.
#28: Classroom Maps and Directions
Create a map of the classroom or use a visual representation of a room. Give students directions using prepositions of place, such as “Walk to the door, turn left, and put the pencil on the table.” Students follow the directions and practice using prepositions of place while navigating the classroom.
#29: Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality
If available, utilize virtual reality or augmented reality tools that allow students to interact with virtual environments. These technologies provide immersive experiences where students can explore and describe different locations using prepositions of place.
What about Preposition of Place ESL Games Online?
If you’re looking for some sources of online practice related to prepositions, there are a number of sites that we recommend. They range from beginner to intermediate and ideal to recommend to your students as a source of additional practice opportunities.
Some of our favourite online practice exercises for prepositions include the following:
ESL Prepositions of Place FAQs
There are a number of common questions that people have about prepositions of place for ESL. Here are the answers to some of the most common ones.
What are the Most Common Preposition of Place Vocabulary Words?
If you’re looking for a vocabulary list of the most common words you’ll see related to this topic, here it is! You can include these vocab items in your games or activities, or teach them to your students:
- Next to
- Across from
- On the right/left
- In front of
What is Preposition of Place?
A preposition of place refers to a place where something or someone is located. They are very commonly used in the English language. There are a number of English place prepositions including by, through, next to, near, in front of, from, across from, on the right of and lots more examples.
How do You Use “At,” “On” and “In” for Places?
In English, when we refer to a place, we use “in” for large or general places. For example, the Eiffel Tower is located in Paris. More specific places require using “on.” For example, my favourite restaurant in Vancouver is on Davie Street. For exampl places, use “at.” For example, the restaurant is at 22nd and Green.
What is a preposition ESL?
When teaching ESL students, you can explain that prepositions are used to show relationships between places, people and objects. Some of the most common ones are: in, at, on, out of, onto, etc.
How Many Different Types of Prepositions are There?
There are five different types of prepositions to be aware of. They include the following: Simple, double, compound, participle, and phrase prepositions.
How do you Use Prepositions Correctly?
The key thing for using prepositions correctly is to avoid using them at the end of a sentence. Since they must be followed by a noun and also have an object, it’s not possible for it to be at the end.
How do you Explain Prepositions in English?
To explain prepositions in English, you can tell your students that they are words that link nouns, pronouns or phrases to other words in a sentence. The purpose is to connect people, objects, times, and location You can usually find them in front of nouns and they are also very short words.
How to Teach ESL Kids New Words
ESL Prepositions of Place Worksheets
If you’re looking for some worksheets to supplement your lesson on this popular topic, then these games and activities aren’t going to work for you! Not to worry though, we have a few go-to sources for ESL worksheets that have a ton of resources for prepositions of place. Check them out right here:
Preposition of Place ESL Lesson Plans
If you want a ready made ESL preposition lesson plan, then you’ll want to check out the following resources:
Did you Like these Preposition Games and Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
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Have your Say about Preposition of Place Games for ESL Students
What are your thoughts about these ESL preposition class games? Leave a comment below and let us know if you have any recommendations, or if you’ve tried any of these out with your students. Or, do you have some other preposition of place ESL games or activities that you’d like to recommend to us? We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-07-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API