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Negation Activities for Preschoolers

by Carly Seifert

Even though the word "no", was probably a first and frequent favorite when your little one began to talk, using negative words correctly can be a challenge during the preschool years. During the toddler years your child might have made simple -- but gramatically incorrect statements like --, "Mommy! No go!" when the babysitter came over. Now that he has reached his preschool years, he's ready for you to help him learn and understand the right way to make negative statements.

Negative Choices

At first glance, giving your preschooler a negative choice doesn't exactly sound like an activity with positive results. But by asking your preschooler questions like, "Which animal doesn't have legs -- a dog or a snake?" or "Which object isn't green, the sun or the grass?", you are helping him master the really difficult concept of negation while encouraging development of his logical thinking skills. Try to encourage him to answer in complete sentences to practice using negative words correctly: "The chair doesn't have wheels" or "The bumble bee doesn't have a tail."

Picture Worksheets

Since your preschooler likely isn't reading yet, create a negation worksheet using pictures. Draw or copy and paste pictures from the computer of three objects that are alike, and one that is different. For example, on the first line, you might copy and paste a picture of a globe, a basketball, a clock and a birthday present. Ask her to circle or point to the object that isn't round. Eventually work up from yes or no questions by asking her open ended questions about a picture from a favorite book that require negative answers. "Is there a tiger at this zoo? Is the elephant in this picture purple?"

Follow Directions

Play a game by asking your preschooler to do silly things using instructions that include negation words -- and note that this game is way more fun when your preschooler has a friend over to engage in the silliness with. Give directions such as, "If you're not wearing red, dance around," or "If your birthday isn't in February, hop up and down." Your preschooler will have to think about the directions you give him a bit before just going for it, thereby increasing his listening and comprehension skills.

Silly Sentences

Preschoolers love when parents make outlandish claims. Say something ridiculous such as, "Books taste yummy" or "People wear shoes on their heads." When your little one is done giggling at your inaccurate observation, ask her to correct you -- "Books don't taste yummy!" or "People don't wear shoes on their heads!"

About the Author

Carly Seifert has been a piano instructor since 2001. She has also covered adoption and introducing children to the arts for "Montana Parent Magazine." Seifert graduated from University of California, Irvine with a Bachelor of Arts in drama.

Photo Credits

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