Posted in Learning Opposites, Sorting Activity, Vocabulary - Toddler & Preschool

Opposites – Learning Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers

What are Opposites & Why Teach Opposites

Opposites are pairs of words that have different meanings (e.g., big/little, fast/ slow, happy/sad). These words are part of basic concepts. Understanding them is important so that they can be successful with listening, speaking, reading, writing, and math. Learning and comprehending basic word pair opposites allows kids to gain new vocabulary as well. For example, when kids comprehend the opposite word pair of hot/cold, they can then expand their vocabulary with words such as warm/cool. Therefore, when they understand and use opposites, they are better prepared to function in educational and social settings.

This week we learnt basic opposites. Listed below are some activities which we tried using items we found at home, rhymes and other play ideas.. Learning made simple & fun 😀 Do share your ideas with us.. 

1. Learning opposites – Using things around us

  • First I picked the word pairs we will be learning. Start with simple ones. 
  • Our pick – Big & Small, Front & Back, Hot & Cold, Top & Bottom, Full & Empty, In & Out, On & Off.
  • Use flash cards or print out images you can find online or create free hand drawings to illustrate the opposites. I used both online images & hand drawn on a paper with sharpie & laminated them.
  • Then, I put together few items that match the word pairs in a tray.
  • I presented them to Miss A (3yrs).She tried to name the cards by looking at the images.
  • Then picked out the opposite word pairs ( matching opposites) & Placed them on a small box. 
  • For each opposite pairs, i let her pick the matching item from the tray and display it on the box. This was a little challenging for her. But she found it interesting. With little to no help she was able to do them all. For Miss D(23 months) it was a good start to see & learn new words.  We will be adding more opposite word pairs to our learning.

      2. Learning opposites with Rhymes 

      This was our favourite – Open shut them

      3. Exercise

      Exercise is always fun for kids. Learn opposites along with it. For eg. Lift the leg HIGH and then drop it LOW. Take a BIG step and then a SMALL step. Move Back one step, move Forward one step. This will help them to learn the opposites while having fun. Miss A & Miss D loved to do it.

      4. Play I Spy 

      For eg. If you say “I spy something that is old”. Your LO will respond “I spy something new.”

      5. Story time

      Let them tell a silly story using as many opposites as possible. Miss As favourite..Too much giggling, I say.. 😀

      6. Match the Opposites

      Shuffle & place the cards( used above in activity 1) on the floor. Let your LOs match the pairs. Or use online printables where they draw a line to match the opposites.
       Other activities you can try to help your toddlers & preschoolers learn opposites: 👍

      • Cut out pictures from magazines, books or use flash cards that show opposites (e.g., big window/small window, big dog/small dog).
      • Pick a concept word and let them go around the room and identify the opposite word (e.g., heavy/light, on/off). 
      • Give a box/basket and let them collect objects that are opposites, name the pairs of opposites and describe their differences. 


      Hi!! Im Lavanya, stay at home mom of 3 & 2 yr old girls.. My LOs are very active and they need various activities to keep them busy and interested. A monotonous play bores them easily.. Hence, I've started to explore & create activities to keep them occupied - fun & some learning.. This blog is my maiden attempt where you can find simple crafts and learning activities for kids. If you like my page share it with your friends. Also tell me what you think in the comments. 😀 Thanks for stopping by!!

      4 thoughts on “Opposites – Learning Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers

      1. Lavanya, in June I observed and subsequently wrote a learning story for all 43 of my children (preschool class) on this very subject. I extended the activity with looking at prepositions. My write up for the observation is as follows:

        Children are naturally curious about what is alike and different in their world. Children come to understand the concept of opposites by using their five senses. By giving them chances to explore opposites, children will begin to learn skills in math, science, and problem solving.

        A preposition is a word that shows the relationship between a noun or a pronoun and another word in the sentence. For example, in the sentence, “My dog is on the bed,” the word “on” is the preposition; it shows the relationship between the dog and the bed. One way to think of prepositions is to remember that they indicate location. If we change the preposition, we change where the dog is, in relation to the bed.

        Teaching opposites and prepositions is an ideal way to help improve children’s ability to communicate. The addition of descriptive words to their vocabulary will greatly transform the level of detail children can convey – ‘soft bunny’, ‘big teddy’ or ‘little boy’.

        Liked by 1 person

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