This activity can be done with almost anything! Different coloured lego bricks, pencils, pompoms or a mixture of coloured objects. Getting your toddler to differentiate between the colours, match them and label them. This is ELC toy is great for this, I put all the bugs in a pile he either picks one up and I ask him what colour it is (if your child doesn't know just tell them each colour) then he will place it on the correct leaf. Sometimes I will ask him to give me a certain colour bug instead this means he will have to recognise the colour by its name and associate it with the correct colour. If any mistakes are made you just gently correct them by pointing out the colour of the bug and the colour of the correct leaf it should be on....they will quickly remember next time. After only a a few days of doing this activity Eli had learnt all his colour names and how to sort, we started doing this at 18 months old and it had being a favourite activity of his since.
2 - Counting.
Again this can be done by simply writing numbers on separate pieces of paper and using counters, bricks or pennies to count the right amount. We started this activity at about 2 years of age when Eli finally (maybe a little late compared to others) started to count 1-10. Once he could count 1-10 and was getting the numbers in the right order we started to associate the name of the number to the written number until he could see the number 4 and know it was 'Four'. Placing the objects down and counting at the same time stopping at the correct amount he then started to understand quantities. This activity is a little more advance and will need more practice Eli still needs a little help but it all aids his understanding of numbers. As well as this we tend to count everything we come across...the amount of stairs we walk down, the amount of cars parked outside or the number of bananas in the fruit bowl.
3 - Coordination, Concentration and The Alphabet.
For this activity we use a giant alphabet floor puzzle something easy to handle and not to complicated to complete. I put all the pieces in one pile and ask for Eli to find me the letter 'A' and then the letter 'B' each time he will tell me a word beginning with that letter...A is for Apple....B is for Ball. I then show him how the two puzzle pieces go together and encourage him to do it himself and then asking for the next letter. After a few pieces he gets the gist of how the pieces go and I no longer have to help him and you can see the concentration in his face as he turns the puzzle pieces around finding their correct placement once the puzzle is complete we usually sing our ABC song and I ask him to point out different letters. If your toddler doesn't yet know the alphabet this is a great way of teaching them by doing the puzzle together sounding out each letter as you go.
Not just a silly board game for adults, toddler pictionary can help word association and vocabulary. I like to use an etchasketch but you could easily use just a pen and paper, chalk board or white board. Drawing pictures and seeing if your toddler can guess what it is makes an extremely fun activity, dont forget to keep them simple though you don't want to cause confusion! You can also do the same with letters and numbers writing a letter and getting your toddler to tell you what it is, this is how Eli mostly learnt and practiced his alphabet we do it daily.
5 - Begining With and Sounding Out Words.
This toy is great, A-Z board books filled with words beginning with each letter. How about making your own flashcards with a letter on one size and the other filled with pictures of things that letter begins with. Eli loves listing words what start with any letter that I give him but we have these little books for inspiration. I also use these or you could used alphabet blocks to spell out simple words and help your toddler to sound them out, this enforces the basic skills needed for reading.
6 - Coordination, Patterns and Shapes.
These Melissa and Doug lacing beads make a great tool for learning, not only does it take hand eye coordination to string the lace through the bead but also patterns or groups can be made with the different shaped or coloured beads. Basic shape learning like star, square and circle can be taught and grouping beads of the same shape, size or colour....the possibilities are endless! As you can see Eli likes to stack the beads and make towers instead haha.
There are so many different ways to learn through play and there are some great toys available to help you, equally it is very simple to make little activities just with whats available to you around the home. Getting involved and making it fun is key and as always practice makes perfect.
I hope this gives you a little inspiration and thank you for reading!