Family Time Calendar: Get Smart - iVillage

"Daily life seems to be the best learning tool for my four-year-old so far. For letter recognition, I use the names of his favorite things, as in T for Thomas the Train, F for Frankie, M for Mommy. That keeps his attention. During dinner I count out the peas or carrots on his plate. Later on I will go in to adding and taking away."

"One of my toddler daughter's favorite games is the 'Driveway Hop.' I color large chalk shapes, and have her hop from the 'blue star' to the 'yellow circle' to the 'green square' and then to 'something green', then to 'a triangle' and have her tell me the color."

"I bought my daughter some flash cards that have colors and shapes, numbers and the alphabet. We make a game out of it and she loves it. When she gets tired or starts to get frustrated with it we stop. This makes it fun for her and she asks to do it everyday."

"I use playing cards to help teach numbers. Basic card games are great fun for little ones, and they begin to catch onto the numbers. They can count the suit shapes also. I buy the jumbo print cards so that it's easy to them to see those numbers."

"My two-year-old daughter enjoys puzzles, so we have a variety that highlight numbers, colors, etc. My favorites are the one with little pegs sticking out of the pieces so they are easy for little hands to lift. I've read that children learn primarily in one of three ways: visual (seeing), audio (hearing) and kinesthetic (touching and doing). Puzzles are one way of covering all the bases. A child can look at the pieces, hear you say the names of the colors or numbers or letters, and touch the pieces as she lifts them up and puts them back together." 

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