Small children learn best when a) they’re having fun and b) they don’t even realise they are learning, so being able to spot ways to encourage your little one’s understanding of letters, numbers and a host of other concepts as you go about your everyday lives as well as during play is ideal. Plus it’s a lot less work for you too! Here’s just a few ways in which you can do just that.
- First things first, before I dive into the more specific tactics, I want to highlight that learning isn’t just about letters and numbers. Simply by playing, your child is picking up so much about how the world works, while developing their own social skills and physical abilities, which are all just as important as being able to recite the alphabet or count to 10!
- So, if your little one is just starting to pick up these concepts or in early years education, then try to incorporate numbers and letters into your daily play. Role play especially provides lots of excuses for writing and counting as well as, like I’ve already said, developing many other skills including their understanding of the wider world. For example, playing shop is a great way to introduce money!
- Point out numbers when you’re out and about i.e. on doors, number plates, buses. Or in the home, such as on clocks, or the oven.
- Count stairs or steps as you climb them; count the seconds when they are brushing their teeth; count the building blocks as they build that tower!
- Read, read, read! I can’t stress this enough. Reading provides the foundation for so much (imagination, communication skills, brain development, social skills, focus and concentration) and is vital when it comes to gaining a good grasp of the english language while extending their vocabulary.
- Help teach them colours by selecting a ‘colour of the day’ and asking them to point out everything that colour from breakfast to bed. You can do the same with shapes, letters and numbers too!
- Keep them entertained while incorporating a spot of learning while on car journeys - ask them to spot the numbers one to 10 on number plates, see how many red/blue/green cars they can see, identify the different shapes of signs.
- Sing songs with numbers in them as you go about your daily routine, when you’re driving in the car, walking to the shops - Five Little Ducks, One Two Buckle My Shoe, Ten Green Bottles.
- Read the big bold labels with them at the supermarket or point out the first letter of their name when you see it on a pack.
- Add a fun learning opportunity to bath time with foam letters and numbers. I also love the magnet versions for the fridge too!
There’s a whole host of playHOORAY! products designed to encourage learning through play. Pick up a pack of 123’s ABC’s for loads more playful ideas for helping your little ones pick up their numbers and letters. Choose from one of our four Calendars - Colours, Shapes, Weather and Starting School, designed specifically to provide active, fun ways to learn. Or sign up to our online courses - Pre-Writing Skills and More Than Counting.