Playtime is over, folks! School season is fast approaching, and this means you have to start dealing with transitioning from carefree playtime to actually teaching them how to move up in terms of reading, writing, and language in general. You are your child’s first teacher, after all. Are you up for the challenge? Here are some things you can do to give your toddler an early start!
Since your little one already has a fascination for touching things around the house, you can use even the most basic things to teach him words. Get your D.I.Y.-diva mode on and take out that labelling machine you never had any use for! Stick a label on his favorite things, and whenever he touches the TV, table, or chair, encourage him to say the letters out loud. Same goes for his t-o-y-s!
You can never go wrong with using learning toys such as an eraseable sketch pad. You can find cheap ones at most toy stores, and you can use them wherever you go. Once you step inside the car, ask your kid to spell the word ‘car’. Same goes for things you can see along the way. You can also use this while waiting for your food to come at restaurants.
If your kid already has a few words in his arsenal, keep a box with various words written on colorful papers inside it. They can draw a “password” from the box daily, and you can make him feel like a boss by guessing the secret word. He’ll surely feel proud to have the upper hand for a change. This is also an exercise in reading quietly to himself.
Have small, regular objects ready and pair them up with cards with the objects’ names for a live-action matching type game. Guide them towards recognizing the objects and showing them the words that correspond to it. Flash cards could work too.
Utilize a Montessori learning method which involves encouraging experiencing things with your senses. You can make it more fun by recycling old cardboard boxes and cut out letters, and ask your kid to paint over the drab brown color with his watercolor paints. You can also spread glue on the cardboard and sprinkle some sand on it, so that when he traces it with his hand, he gets that familiar sandy feeling which he can associate with the letter.
Make learning words fun by playing a verb-noun game. Have easy action verbs and easy noun words on cards, and let each member of the family pick one out. If an action word is picked out, the family member has to act it out. If it’s a noun, then they have to place the card right beside the word it refers to. This makes learning at home easier and more interactive.
If you haven’t found the time to read your kids a bedtime story, now might be the perfect opportunity to start. Choose easy books first, with big block letters that they can easily recognize. This might take some time, but eventually, with repetition, they will slowly be able to read letters and words and even certain parts of the story out loud to you. Of course, this is always a good way to end a fun day with your child.
Teaching your kid takes a lot of patience and time, but it will positively contribute to their early learning process. It won’t be long before the ABCs will be easy for your child to read. Years down the line, when you finally get the pleasure of giving him a school medal at graduation, you’ll know you had a great part in his early start.