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Ordinals (1st, last, middle, between)

October 8, 2008

boy telling a story about who comes first, second, etc

Once children understand the words first and last they become more aware of their surroundings.

Ordinals Lesson

Collect a variety of items; it can be toys, stuffed animals…whatever is convenient. You’ll only need 3-5 items.
  1. You’ll be making a game using whatever items you have selected.
  2. Make up a story, “One day the toy giraffe wanted to be first in line for the parade (put the giraffe in front) and the elephant was carrying the baby chimpanzees on his back came up last (put the elephant last). Everyone could see the parade and had a great time!”
  3. Now have your child come up with a short story about the toys that you gathered.
  4. If he is confused with firstlast and middle, go back to only one term. Starting with first, use first in speaking with your child. For instance, “First go say hi to your father and come eat breakfast.” Give him specific, clear directions that are appropriate for your child. It is important that he follows the directions in order. When he can follow a two-step direction you can add more steps and include silly steps like, “First jump 4 times on the carpet, run to your bedroom and thelast thing is to bring me your book.”
  5. There is this great alphabet story about how “Z” doesn’t want to golast, called “Alpha OOps! The Day Z Went First”. A fun story where the alphabet gets all mixed up and the chaos that happens! Your child will be delighted by the confusion.
  6. When he shows understanding of each term, introduce another one. Compare the terms to each other and help your child see the differences.
  7. Act out with items familiar to your child for the following terms: first,lastbetweenmiddle and beside.
  8. See if your child can come up will a silly story to go with the actions.
  9. Having your child demonstrate the terms will help him gain a firmer understanding of the concepts.


By watching your child you’ll know if he understands the terms. If he doesn’t, kindly redirect him using the toys. Then have him show you what isfirstlast and in the middle.

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