As a stay-at-home mom, I have a lot of quality time with my two-year-old. I have always been fascinated with learning. I think having a love of words, writing, and reading was instilled in me from a very young age. My father was in our local paper growing up for his great ability to speed read and still comprehend everything he had read. My mother always used a vast vocabulary with me which led to my love of the “dictionary game” in the bath tub. Oh man, I wish I was joking. I would beg my mother to whip out a dictionary and ask me a random word and see if I could define/spell/ whatever with that word while I splashed in the tub.
Let’s be honest I was a weird child.
I’m still very much a weird adult.
My daughter turned TWO in January. She knows the full alphabet (in random order or attempts to sing the ABCs, usually by “L” she goes “YAY all done.”), a handful of shapes, and numbers 1-10 as well as counting to 10. She knows her animals as well as the sounds they make.
I never think of my child as SOLELY A TWO-YEAR-OLD. You’re really holding back on yourself as well as your child if you start thinking of them with limitations.
Here are my tips on what works for us, whether you’re interested in new learning ideas or you really have no idea where to start:
- Incorporate Flashcards– My daughter loves these! They have fun children themed ones that are colorful, with Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse, and it makes it more interesting for her. I show her what the card is and I ask if she knows what it is. I say “It’s the letter A” and she will repeat after me. Later on you can add “A like Apple” and eventually “A like Apple what color is the apple?” And so forth.
2. Chalkboards– We have a large standing chalkboard in our home. We use this for EVERYTHING! I’ll write the letter or numbers down and ask her what she sees. Be very clear with your handwriting. For us, we write a standard 2 and that is the only way she recognizes a 2. If I were to write the 2 with a loop, she would be confused and unsure of the number. Same things with 4, no lines in the 0’s, no lines through the 7’s, and so forth. Think of how a teacher/workbook would have the number written and not how you may typically write the number.
(You may be thinking by now that flashcards and chalkboards don’t sound too exciting! You may be right. Your child may not enjoy it or have the patience for it at this age yet. And that’s OK. Ellie just happens to love these things, so we continue to do them with her.)
<–Melissa & Doug Double-Sided Board!
3. Foam Letters– I found these foam letters that pop out so you have to put them back in the correct place. She LOVES it. It’s learning and a puzzle all in one. We pop all the letters out first and scramble them up. I will hold up a letter, ask her what it is, tell her, and hand it to her. She will them pop it in to the correct letter space. When she knows the letter and is able to find the correct place for it, she gets so excited and claps for herself. It’s really wonderful.
<–These are what we use!
4. Coloring Books/Paint– We have a TON of coloring books! I also buy those really big boxes of crayons and dump them all out before coloring. I will tell her what the color is. Another great way to learn colors is honestly just in doing your everyday life. Talk to your child. Ask them what color the food is, their outfit, the sky, etc. Congratulate them when they are right. I get so excited with everything Ellie does. I tell my father all the time she’s a genius. So he now jokingly texts me, “How’s baby genius today?” and it’s usually while she’s strolling around with her baby potty on as a hat…so…I didn’t see that text 😉
**Another fun post- Easter activity you can do, take all of your plastic eggs and break them apart. Scatter them around. Have your little find the color match so you can put the eggs back together. (I don’t know if ANY other parents had this issue, but my child is IN LOVE with plastic Easter eggs. She begs for them, lovingly carries the bag around, it’s madness LOL)
<– ALL about ELMO Right Now!
5.ZOO Trips– My best friend and I have children who are best friends. We try to take weekly trips to the zoo. It’s cheap to get an annual membership, it’s basically empty early in the morning, and we get in some great exercise and girl talk. It’s the best. Anywho, the zoo is solely my example for this, but really incorporate it for ANYWHERE. Talk to your child! I will show her the animal, we will discuss the sound it makes, where it lives, etc.
**And yes, like every other mom on the planet, I know AND SING ALONG TO “We’re going on a lion hunt”
6. Songs– Singing the “Hokey Pokey” “Finger Family” “Head Shoulders Knees and Toes” are actually AMAZING and helping your child understand their body. Ellie LOVES seeing that SHE has a nose and that mama and dada have a nose. It’s exciting for her. We easily add in other body parts that aren’t in the songs (chin, elbows, ankles, etc) for her to learn those too.
I use every experience I get to talk to my child. We read books daily, I tell her what I am doing as I do it, I tell her where we’re going, when to use “Please” and “Thank you,” and what things are. Your child is a sponge just soaking up everything you say so really take that extra step.
I’m sure you are already doing many of these things, but that has worked wonders for us. She’s learning, she’s entertained, and it’s a win-win for all!