Toddler discovers the world little by little. They study everything around them and love to master new things. This is the perfect time to lay the foundation for future skills like reading and counting. In this period you have to start working to cover the basics – colors, numbers, letters, and shapes. And the best way to do it is through play, with everyday activities which catch your child’s interests. The focus should be on playing. The basic things your toddler starts to learn are differentiating colors and shapes, also recognizing letters and numbers.
Start teaching colors when your child is around 18 months. Every kid is different and will learn colors at a different speed. But sooner or later they learn them. As a general rule between 18 – 30 months is a great age for specifically teaching colors. You should always be reviewing colors with your child. Use descriptive language as much as possible to help your child recognize different colors. For example, you can say “Can you put this blue ball into the yellow bin?” or ask “What do you want то to eat – red apple or yellow banana?”. And don’t forget to talk about how there are many shades of colors.
Start teaching shapes when your child is around two years old. Your kid should have a basic understanding of shapes by two and a half years old and should be able to identify shapes by the time he is three years old. And start with basic forms – round, square, triangular, star, heart. Also explain and show that shapes come in different sizes. You can teach your child to know shapes by playing. Kids learn better when it’s fun. You can get some toys to help you with this. Very useful would be the one with some small parts which have to be placed in windows of the same shape. Another good option is to use puzzles with big parts appropriate for your child’s age. Or to choose a set with parts in different forms and bright colors, which your child will use to build many things.
You can use the food to help your child learn the shapes too. Bake up some cookies in different forms – round, square, triangular, rectangular, in the shape of stars or hearts. Also, the sandwiches, pancakes, cheese and bread can be prepared in many different forms – triangles, squares, stars, ovals, and more.
Start teaching letters when your kid is around three years old. But don’t stress and pressure your child to learn them. Make it fun. Do different things to teach and expose your kid to letters, but don’t worry about it.
You can use toys with letters on them, to speak about letters always when you have a good chance, can show many things and signs when you are out for a walk. Anyway, you can start early with her name – around age two. Usually, kids begin to recognize the letters that make up their names.
And to help your toddler connect letters to the sounds they make, speak slowly, place your finger under the letters and words as you read and pronounce the words clearly.
Start teaching numbers when your child is around three years old. But it is better to introduce letters first and then introduce numbers. Because your kid needs to make the difference between them and to understand that numbers are different from letters. Do it without stress and pressure. Try to not push your kid to learn them fast. It will happen anyway, so make it easy and with fun.
Usually, kids start to count up to 20 and identify numbers 1 to 10 before kindergarten. Show to your kid how to separate things, count together different things when you are at home or walking outside. Ask your child to group some toys by type or color. Use also toys with numbers on them.
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