Observe the child in dramatic house play with peers and the adult. Empty boxes can serve as a table, stove, and/or refrigerator. Different colored blocks can serve as food, if plastic food is unavailable. Have girl and boy dolls, stuffed animals, etc. as well. Place several household props around the play area (in the stove, under the table, etc.)
During play the adult uses the various concepts to determine the child’s comprehension. Incorporate the terms into natural usage, rather than asking directive questions. For example, “I’d like some meat and vegetables to eat.” or “I need some green salad.” “I think the food is in the refrigerator. You can take it out and put it on the stove.” “The boy baby likes fruit to eat.” “The animals are hungry too.”
The child demonstrates understanding of prepositions, colors, categories (such as foods, animals, etc.), simple descriptive words, and gender.
When parents are giving the child directions to retrieve certain objects, they can expand spatial understanding by giving the child information about the objects location in relation to other known items. For example, instead of just saying, “Get out the cereal,” the parent could say, “The cereal box is next to the sugar bowl. Please get it for me.” Instead of “Put your shoes on,” say, “Your shoes are beside the chair.”
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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