Our little three-year-old (also going on seventeen) has a sharp mind that is always in fifth gear and going a mile a minute. She LOVES having something to do, a project to work on, a job to get done, and learns very quickly. On the other hand, she is very methodical, detailed, and takes projects very seriously. She is always eager to learn, so I try to have a few intentional ideas for her to spend some time on each day. I don’t call them “school”, but usually present them as something fun to do.
–Learning scripture. She LOVES music, so we have several children’s CD’s of kids singing scripture. These come on any time we are in the car. At this point, she probably knows 20-30 scriptures (in song style) and it thrills my heart to hear her singing randomly throughout the day by herself. Steve Green’s music is a favorite, and can be found on Amazon here.
-Reading/Creating A Love For Books. We go to the library at least 2-3 times a month… and have been known to sometimes go as much as once/week. Sometimes there is an age-appropriate Storytime with the librarian, and I also let my toddler pick out several new books to bring home. We took part in a preschool reading program that encouraged parents to read 1,000 books to their child before kindergarten, and we accomplished that in 9 months. There is a bookshelf in our living room just for her, plus another bookshelf in her bedroom. Sometimes, we’ll cuddle up on the couch to read books together, or I’ll find her “reading” to herself/baby sister. She LOVES books.
-ABC’s/Numbers. Again, there’s usually lots of singing at our house, so we threw in the ABC song too. She also loves for us to draw random letters so she can tell us what they are. We have a few board puzzles that have introduced numbers, plus I try to take any opportunity possible to count. “Hey, how many ears to you have?” “Help Mama pick up the blocks… how many are there?” “Can you get me four spoons, please?”
-Colors, Shapes. Puzzles have been great for colors and shapes too, plus I screen a few YouTube videos for her to watch while I grocery shop each week, and all of them have to do with colors/shapes/numbers/letters, etc. Bob The Train is a favorite, and can be found here. We also color and draw a BUNCH… I picked up an art easel at a consignment sale last year, and saved it for Christmas. It has a chalkboard on one side, and a paper roll that can be used on the other side. Our toddler is constantly drawing, chalking, and creating new masterpieces to cover (and I mean cover) ever magnetic surface in my home (although, i miiiiight have a few of these DIY art displays around here too.). We also keep a coloring book in the car for her to use at doctor appointments, during Church, etc.
Crafting/Games/Motor Skills: I keep a box of inexpensive craft supplies in my laundry room with colored construction paper, kids scissors, glue sticks, pom-poms, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, a ziplock bag of threadable beads, back-up crayons and chalk, and washable paint. Sometimes, I’ll search Pinterest for an art project to do with her, and other times, I’ll just sit the box on the table and let her cut/glue/paint to her heart’s content. One afternoon, her little friend was over and they threaded beads onto pipe cleaners for jewelry. On family vacation, she was also introduced to the game “Don’t Break The Ice” (which she calls “Don’t Drop The Man”, hahaha) and it has been a fun way to improve her hand/eye coordination, fine motor skills, and end the evening as a family. You could probably find it at any Target/WalMart, etc. or on Amazon here. We also do lots of sorting at our house… she helps me sort laundry, organize the pantry, put away the silverware, put specific toys back in certain containers, etc. She also helps me cook/bake in the kitchen, and helps her Daddy change the oil in our cars by handing him tools that they sort into piles.
All in all, I want to feed her desire to learn and show her that learning is fun. Any moment can be an opportunity to learn something new! I hope these ideas have encouraged you and sparked your own creativity for teaching your little ones. ❤ We’re in this together!