A guest post by Amanda Lehrman from The Momma Files.
Amanda Lehrman has a background in education and is a mother to her son Jack. She will be a guest writer for Mama Tales during the month of September on Mondays. Please check back here for more educational tips to prepare your little ones for school.
Using different textures is a good way to teach children. Becoming familiar with the feel of letters and numbers will help them recognize and eventually write them. Set up a touch and feel letter/number poster in your house. A few pieces of poster board will work perfectly. Have each letter/number cut and displayed in a few different textures. Sandpaper is a great choice, as well as cotton balls, pasta and glitter. Run your child’s finger over the textured letter/number cutouts and repeat the name as you do this.
A favorite texture to use is sand. If you live near a beach, take advantage of the end of the summer by drawing letters in the sand. Write your child’s name in the sand and have them trace your writing. For indoor sand use, take a bowl of sand (you can find sand at hardware or craft stores) and have them draw letters/numbers and repeat the name of each one. If your child is ready, you can write their name and have them trace it with their finger, a pencil or a crayon. To make this more interactive, play a game where you call out a letter or number and they record it on a piece of paper.
Another simple way to work on letter and number concepts is to use your everyday life. You can count toys as you clean up, count fingers and toes on your child as you get them dressed, count the plates as you set the table. Have your children help you do these tasks and count out loud. Even if they begin with saying, 1, 2, 10, they are aware that numbers are ordered; the correct pattern will follow. Repeat the numbers and say the alphabet, even when you do not think they are paying attention. Show them the numbers on a clock, the microwave, the cable box. Highlight the letters on the refrigerator, in books, on the computer. Children listen to everything, they hang on our words. If you say something enough, they will begin to repeat.
Singing is a way to introduce and reinforce the alphabet and numbers. From a very early age, children, even babies, recognize songs. Even though they may not know what you are saying initially, it will become a familiar tune and eventually, they will start to repeat the song. There are many tapes and CDs with educational songs. Play them at home and when you are in your car. Consistently exposing them to important concepts will lead to recognition and understanding.
Remember that children are sponges; they soak up everything around them. Make learning fun for them. Make them feel like they are discovering something brand new to the world; even though it may only be brand new to them. Celebrating their efforts and praising their successes will encourage them to keep learning and keep discovering.