Congratulations Annie and Sonya N. for winning an AlphaPup each! Stay tuned for more giveaways on School of Mum.
This is a sponsored post
There is so much conflicting advice about children’s ‘readiness’ to learn reading, writing and numbers. Then there is the confusion about whether children should be forced into any structured learning before school starts. There’s different theories on that and each idea will push its point with evidence and research, making it even harder for a parent to decide whether to ‘teach’ their preschool children or just let them play.
I strongly believe in balance in everything. Play is extremely important. It teaches problem solving, language, creativity and so much more. It can also teach reading, writing and numbers depending on the type of play!
Children are learning the foundations long before they can sing their ABCs or count. They are learning through exposure. The more you immerse children in language and numbers, the more chance they have of picking it up early.
We have always exposed Tom to as much language as we can. And at 2 and a half years old, he is now ready to learn letter names, identifying numbers and counting.
How did we know he was ready?
I started with his name. Every day he would walk past his door and I would say “Look! T-H-O-M-A-S, Thomas!” until one day he started saying “S!”…”O!”…then he started seeing letters in other places. I would encourage him, repeating the letters and showing him other letters. It wasn’t pushed or forced. They have always been all around him in books and play and suddenly, he was starting to ‘click’. I like to call that the MAGIC MOMENT! It might happen for your child before 2 and a half or later. But once you start seeing them take an interest, I don’t see the harm in running with it and encouraging more learning! It’s easy to make fun and it is a fabulous way to prepare children for more formal learning in the future.
What Activities are suitable for a toddler?
1. BATH LETTERS
Bath Letters are such a fantastic way to have fun with letters. When Tom is in the bath it is a really relaxing time and he can be focussed on chatting without distractions. Sometimes we make his name with letters and other times we watch him make his own game, like hiding the letters behind him and then trying to find them. “Where did A go?” he would say, and then “Ohhh there it is!” As children get older they can put the letters in order, practice spelling words and so much more!
You can buy these very cool Sponge Bob ones here
2. PAPER PLATE LETTERS
These are great and barely take any time to make. With Tom I am only starting with 5 letters at a time and making them as I go, which makes it even less strenuous! Just cut paper plates into three parts and away we go. He helped me cut and glue the pictures on but you can draw them if you like! I deliberately chose pictures of things he likes and words he can already say so we can focus on the letters.
3. TOYS – Featuring AlphaPup from LeapFrog
Tom loved this little guy as soon as he arrived. AlphaPup sings the ABCs and you can push his letters to hear letter names, letter sounds, words that begin with each letter and more.
Anything that can be dragged or walked around is favourite toy! Because he takes it with him he can hear the alphabet song as he goes. It’s a fabulous toy to reinforce alphabet knowledge while allowing children to play independently. I’m not ready for Tom to learn through Ipads etc as I believe the less screen time, the better until he is at least 3 years old.
4. MAKE LETTERS
It’s fun to make letters in all sorts of tactile ways – playdough, pasta, in sand trays and more. Learning letters through tactile experiences help with absorbing and remembering letter names and sounds. It makes for a fun and memorable experience!
5. NAME PLAY
A child’s name is a great place to start when starting to learn the alphabet. As mentioned above, display your child’s name everywhere, expose them to different fonts, uppercase and lowercase. Familiarise them with it as much as possible and let them play with it too!
To help you get started, you can WIN your own Leapfrog AlphaPup! I have 2 to give away.
To enter – leave a comment below answering this question:
What’s your favourite memory or story about your child’s language journey so far?
Terms and conditions:
* Entry is open to Australian folk only (sorry!)
* Winner will be posted on the Blog ONLY.
* Winner has 3 days to respond before another is chosen.
* Delivery of the prize is the responsibility of the business giving away the item, not School of Mum
* Winners will be announced on Saturday 28th of June, 2014
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