Monday, February 27, 2012

Teaching Toddlers: 2 year old edition

Addison and I have been having fun playing and learning in 2012!  I am excited to share some recent activities we have done together.  I hope you find them helpful as you teach your little one!

Number Cards (idea found here)
Materials needed:
foam sheets (I used two colors- one for even numbers and one for odd)
permanent marker
beads, beans, etc (make sure your child is old enough not to put these small items in his/her mouth!)

Addison is comfortable counting, but she doesn't recognize many of the numbers yet.  This game is great because we practice counting as we fill each bubble with a bead, and she has many opportunities to look at each written number as we count.  It also encourages fine motor skills practice.

Shades of Colors (idea found here)
Materials needed:
paint chips

Before introducing this activity to Addison, I'm not sure to what extent she realized that each color has a variety of shades.  The word "match" was also new to her vocabulary.  Since playing this game she's frequently picked up two objects and told me that they match!  :)  This activity fosters hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as your child pinches the clothespins.

Memory Game

Materials needed:
Mickey Mouse paint chips (found at Home Depot)

I had not played a memory-type game with Addison prior to this one.  She caught on quickly and this has been one of her favorite games so far!  I usually only put out 3 color pairs at a time so she doesn't lose interest/get confused before the game is over.

Counting Boards (idea found here)

Materials needed:
number caps (I used baby food jar lids and foam sticker letters)
card stock

When reading books, Addison and I practice counting objects often.  She likes to hold onto my pointer finger as I point from one object to the next while counting.  This skill is difficult for her at this age as she wants to just touch the objects randomly while counting quickly.  It is taking a lot of practice for her to touch one object at at time while counting.  She loves this game and I am happy to have found another way to teach her to recognize written numbers.

Alphabet Train

Materials needed:
alphabet flash cards or puzzle (the puzzle works perfectly as the pieces are self-correcting)
various household toys and objects

Some good friends of ours gave Addison this great puzzle.  I love this puzzle because it creates one long " ABC train."  She is able to see that B and D are towards the beginning of the alphabet, L and P are in the middle, and U and W are at the end.  As we complete this puzzle over and over, I am able to have conversations with her such as "what letter comes after M?"  I give her a few moments to determine the answer herself.  If she does not know, we start singing the ABC song (while pointing to each letter) and I stop singing before I give away the answer.  She is quick to say the correct letter and then find it. 

Recently I've extended this activity into also working on her letter sounds.  Prior to beginning the puzzle I will have gathered various small toys or household objects.  I will pick one up and ask her what it is.  She will say "bottle" (for example).  Then I'll ask her, "what sound does bottle start with? /b/ /b/ /b/"  She will repeat the /b/ sound.  I'll say, "what letter makes the /b/ sound?"  She will respond by saying B and I will encourage her to find the letter B and put the bottle on it.  We continue this process with other objects until I notice signs that she's losing focus.  She loves this part of our game and again, it teaches her to remember which letters are in the beginning, middle, and end of the alphabet.

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