“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”
Do your students enjoy playing hide-and-go-seek? Do you know how to make this game educational? Hide-and-go-seek is the perfect game for practicing prepositions of place. If you haven’t already introduced these little words and phrases to your English learners, check out Tanya’s useful post. It’s full of teaching tips on prepositions of place (and directions), including this FREE handy handout.
After you’ve introduced prepositions of place to your students, you can review them by showing this funny series of visuals. Simply ask this question: Where is the child hiding? Go over some of the different prepositions from the pictures.
under the bucket, behind the curtain, in the cupboard, behind the towel, beside the crib…
2. Introduce Sprout
Next, have your students stand up and have a little fun in your classroom! Since it’s difficult for students to hide in a small classroom, try hiding a classroom mascot or toy. If you don’t have a mascot, why not use Sprout? Sprout English’s mascot is…you guessed it, a sprout! It could be a bean sprout or a pea sprout. Let your students decide!
Show your students a picture of Sprout, and ask them what they think it is. Ask your students why a bean sprout is a good symbol of a language learner.
Note: A Canadian artist named Robyn created Sprout. She says he’s “kind of a mix of a million things, a face, a ladybug, and…a sprout.” (That’s only three, Robyn!)
3. Hide Sprout
Tell two students to go out into the hall. The students in the classroom think of three possible places to hide Sprout.
Student 1: Let’s hide him in my desk.
Student 2: Let’s put him in the shoe closet.
Student 3: Why don’t we tape him on the board?
Vote for the best idea, or choose the student whose suggestion was worded correctly. You may need to introduce the expressions “Let’s…” (let us) and “Why don’t we…?”. Have another student hide Sprout in the spot that was chosen.
You can cut out a few samples of Sprout, in case he gets lost or goes missing, or in case you want to hide more than one at a time.
4. Find Sprout
Invite the students who were in the hall to come back and find Sprout. Before physically looking, they have to ask a question using a preposition of place.
Is Sprout in the closet?
Is Sprout under the mat?
Is Sprout behind the pillows?
The class can answer “maybe” and the student can look in that spot. The first student to find Sprout can choose two new students to go out in the hall. If nobody finds Sprout after a few guesses, they can give up. Someone in the class can tell the two students where Sprout was hiding: “Sprout is behind the aquarium.”
Continue playing until everyone has had a turn to look for Sprout. Try to encourage your students to find different places to hide Sprout.
5. “Sprout Says…”
If your students have fun with Sprout, why not play a follow-up game of “Sprout Says”? Instead of the traditional “Simon Says” game (where the speaker gives instructions from Simon’s perspective), play “Sprout Says” with a focus on prepositions of place. Let your students take turns coming to the front of the room or the center of the circle to be “Sprout”. (The speaking student can hold up the picture of Sprout, or you could tape Sprout to a popsicle stick and have the student hold it.) Sprout shouts out instructions using prepositions of place. *
Sprout says, put your pen on the desk.
Sprout says, put something in your backpack.
Sprout says, put your hands behind your back.
Stand below the clock. [One students moves. The others stay still.] I didn’t say “Sprout says!”
If a student starts to move or do an action when Sprout doesn’t start an instruction with “Sprout says” that student has to sit down. **
*If you want your students to practice a variety of prepositions, write all of the prepositions on the board that Sprout has to use, and cross one out each time it is used. Here’s a list.
**If you don’t want to exclude students from the game after they make a mistake, tell them they have to shout out an example sentence with a preposition of place to get back into the game.
6. Take Sprout Home
It is always useful for young learners to know the directions between their own home and their school. If you want your students to practice giving directions, invite them to teach Sprout how to get to their home. You could get your students to write out a short script to do in front of the class. One student can hold Sprout on the popsicle stick, and the other student can give the directions.
Sprout: How do I get to your house?
Student: First, take a left on Main Street.
Sprout: Okay. Now what?
Student: Then, walk on Main Street for three blocks.
Student: Turn right at the traffic lights on Rock Ave.
Student: My house is just on the left. #2 Rock Ave.
BONUS FUN – Hide-and-Seek Homework
Speaking of sprouts, another fun hide-and-seek game that I love to play with my kids is “Peas in a Pod” (a.k.a. “Sardines”). This game requires at least three people (the more, the merrier). Peas in a Pod is like traditional hide-and-seek, except that instead of one person seeking, one person (the pea) hides. After counting to 20, everybody else breaks up and starts searching. When somebody find the “pea”, instead of shouting “Found you!” she hides quietly with the pea to form the start of a pod. Gradually, more people try to join the pod (it gets squishy!). The trick is to be as quiet as possible, so that the last person has to look for a long time! For fun, tell your students that they have to play hide-and-seek (peas-in-a-pod style) with their family members for homework! The next day at school, ask your students to share the hiding places the “peas” used.
My dad hid in the bathroom.
My brother hid in the closet.
My sister hid under the blanket.
Grandma was hiding behind the plant!
You may also want to share the English expression “We’re like peas in a pod” (closely connected friends or relatives).
Find this week’s Spotlight lesson in the Library – Present Continuous Stories.
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