Toddler Concepts
Up & Down

There are many ways to learn the concepts of "up" and "down." It doesn't take any extra effort on your end. Instead, just be aware of the concepts as you go about your day. Make sure to talk about "up" and "down" during different activities. This will help generalize and solidify the skill!

Language Milestones Targeted

Expressive Language

Receptive Language

  • Uses about 200-300 words consistently 
  • Uses words to get attention 
  • Understands 500 words 
  • Follows 2-step directions 
  • Knows simple concepts: big, little, in, out 
  • Understand contrasting concepts: up vs down 


What You Need: Play cars

How To Play: Get out some play cars and a ramp. If you don't have a car ramp (I don't!), you can make one out of pillows or by turning a hardcover book over. Have the cars go up and down over the ramp. To teach this concept for the first time, I take a car and say "up, up, up, up..." slowly as the car goes up. This builds excitement and captures your child's attention. Then, once the car reaches the top, I say "down" and let the car fall down fast. Children usually find this funny and remain interested for a few minutes!

Of course, you can play this game any which way. Most likely your child already plays with cars. When playing, remember to talk about up and down and the rest of the concepts listed below.

Other Concepts To Target:

  • Fast
  • Slow
  • Small
  • Little
  • Big


What You Need: Nothing...just a trip to the park!

How To Play: There are many opportunities to practice all sorts of concepts at the park. To practice up and down try some of these ideas:

  • Roll a stick up and down the slide
  • Climb up stairs and go down the slide
  • Jump up and down on a bridge
  • Walk up and down the stairs
  • While swinging, push your child up and then let he/she "fall down" as he/she swings back down
  • Throw wood chips up and watch them fall down
  • Climb up a slide and then fall down
  • get the idea!

Other Concepts To Target: 

  • Outside 
  • Inside
  • Fast
  • Slow


What You Need: Building Blocks

How To Play: This is the easiest and usually the one that parents already do. Build a tower and then knock it down. That's it! 

However, when building the tower, make sure to say "up" as you place each block on top of the tower. When the tower is built, have your child say "down" before he/she knocks it down. Once the tower falls down, talk about how many blocks fell down and how he/she should put them back up. Below are some other concepts to target while playing.

Other Concepts To Target: 

  • Shapes
  • Colors
  • Big 
  • Little


What You Need: Stairs

How To Play: Okay, this one is super easy!! As you help your toddler walk up or down stairs, say "up" or "down" accordingly. This also works well when you child is playing with houses or farms. The little people and/or animals can walk up or down. Below are some other common concepts to target.

Other Concepts To Target: 

  • Soft
  • Hard
  • Lots
  • Slow
  • Fast

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› UP & Down