I cannot believe how much information my 2 year old soaks in.
She looked like this 2 years ago & needed everything to be done for her.
And now (while she still needs a LOT to be done for/with her), she talks in full sentences and sings her ABCs and puts on her coat and picks out her pony-tails and helps me set the table. I’m an educator by trade and a teacher by nature, and thus have spent more time with little kids than your average joe. And still, it blows my mind what a 2 year old can learn.
Mostly I want her to be a kid and play. She is learning a lot just by running around and being an average 2 year old.
But also, her mind is being formed – these first 5 years are SO SO critical. And just having an awareness of that is helpful in shaping her mind.
I sometimes stumble over to a website called I can teach my child. I really like that concept. She is here with me all the time for at least 3 or 4 years, and I can teach her stuff. And I should!
Thus far, everything we’ve done has been informal. The main way she’s learned most things is through conversation and books. [All the early childhood development research backs this up – reading and talking to your infants and toddlers has the biggest influence on their language and literacy.]
We are pretty intentional with how we talk to her, what we talk about, what she takes in. Granted, she is the first… I’m sure by number 3 or 4, they’re conversational development will be at the mercy of their siblings. 🙂
For a while now, we’ve basically just pointed stuff out and talked about it. Nothing “formal.” We talk about going to the grocery store, what we’re buying at the grocery store. The colors and shapes of what we see at the grocery store. The animals and places the food might have come from. How we pay the cashier with money. How there are coins and cash. How we load our groceries into the car and take them home to put them away in the refrigerator. What types of meals we’ll make with the food we bought.
And that’s just the grocery store.
At home, we might play with some blocks.
At first it was eat the blocks.
Then it was mom builds a tower and Addie knocks them over.
Then she could maybe stack 2 on top of each other.
Now she can build a tower. (Our favorite blocks for this age aren’t pictured. They’re these bigger wooden ones!)
And soon she’ll build a village.
But while building we’d talk about shapes and colors. The same shapes and colors we saw at the grocery store.
More recently, it’s this shapes puzzle. She probably put did it a thousand times before she could verbally say “that’s a triangle.”
|photo from amazon – you can get it here|
Then I happened upon a deck of flashcards at the dollar store and the puzzle pieces PERFECTLY fit in them. I call them “shape cards,” we keep them on top of the puzzle, and she loved a new way to do her favorite puzzle. (Once they got ruined, I just traced the shapes and made new ones for our second kid.)
THEN, I saw a dorky book from the 90s at the library about seeing triangles in every day life. But it has real pictures instead of drawings. She loves it. In fact, when we read the page where the kid makes a triangle with his hands, and then I made a triangle with my hands, her jaw dropped, and then she laughed out loud and tried to do it.
These are not fancy activities. They probably won’t get ‘pinned.’ But this is real life. And in real life every day, she’s learning. And the more I realize what she’s capable of learning, the more excited I am about giving her opportunities to learn.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and am going to try a few different things and I’ll probably share them on here along the way.
What do you do at home to teach your little ones?