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Old 09-16-2012, 12:13 AM   #31
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Re: "actively teach" your toddler or just play and let them "learn naturally"?

Our son (26 months) learns predominantly through play and just daily life. Just describing things and asking him questions, things like that. He is always asking me, "What's that?" so he learns a lot about things that way (him being curious, and me answering his questions). Like other posters have said, it's just in how you do things. Telling them they have a red crayon or that their food is green or whatever. Asking them questions. I made games out of it, too... when DS was first learning his colors he thought it was fun when I would ask him to get specific colored blocks (he has large cardboard blocks) and he'd bring them to me and we'd stack them up and he was so excited that he knew the right colors. I really think it's best when they learn through play, and when learning is fun and not a chore.

However, my son is very interested in letters, numbers, and colors, so he does kind of seek out being taught. Like, he loves his Alphabooks (those were probably his favorite "toy" at around 18 months) and used to make me go through all 26 of them at one time. He thinks flash cards are great. He hauls out his Melissa & Doug clock so that we can count. So we do some "active teaching" but only because he shows an interest in it himself. I wouldn't push it if he wasn't so interested in these things already, but since he is then I go with it. Right now he's into his wooden puzzles, and due to the ones he has he has been learning about shapes as well as the difference between police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, etc. (and he loves when he hears a siren in real life, and he tells me "police car!" haha). He loves the number one and puts that together multiple times a day.

Just provide plenty of opportunities for your child to learn things in multiple ways, but at this age forcing it will only frustrate them. At 18 months, their job is to be a little kid. You are doing just fine!


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Old 09-16-2012, 06:20 AM   #32
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Re: "actively teach" your toddler or just play and let them "learn naturally"?

If I could go back, I would have actively taught. He has just turned 3 and has started preschool, and I've noticed that he doesn't seem to know as much as some of the other children, specifically those that I know are near his age. Today I'm actually going to go pick up notecards that I can make into flash cards so I can work with him at home on colors, shapes, numbers and counting, ABCs and on so much more (full, half full, empty; left, right and more). I've also already picked up a big workbook for preschoolers that helps them work on pre-writing skills and all of the above^.

I'm always explaining things to him. I ask him to point out certain color cars in parking lots when walking to grocery store, I tell him on walks that tree trunks are brown and the leaves are green (and love fall because there's so many more colors!). I point out animals colors and activities like running, jumping, walking, climbing and try to encourage him to tell me what they are doing as well. But, I don't think that's enough.

So with my second son (only 4 months right now) I'm going to keep all these materials I'm making for DS1 and will start actively teaching DS2 whenever he's interested in joining in on our learning fun. DS1 LOVES working on his preschool workbook.
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:27 AM   #33
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I taught my oldest things by playing with him. I'd ask for a green block, we'd count the cars on a walk, make animal sounds when we saw the animal. I didn't think anything was sinking in til 2.5 when he had a verbal explosion and it all just came out. He is in pre-k now and doing great. But I never pushed an activity. When he was done, that was it. He does very well for his age. Teaching doesn't have to be structured. It can be play.
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Old 09-18-2012, 11:30 PM   #34
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Re: "actively teach" your toddler or just play and let them "learn naturally"?

Originally Posted by bigmamakelsey View Post
We teach day to day living to. Simple things - if you hand them a banana, ask what color it is. If you turn off a light, describe what you're doing. It's easier than sitting down and schooling them.
My DS is almost 3 and knows his colors, shapes, abcs, and he can count to 20..BUT, he still doesn't speak clearly and in full sentences. I wouldn't put too much stress on it. All kids develop at different ages.
Yes, this. Your always going to be your kids best teacher. You will spend the most time with them daily regardless of working or not. Educational videos also help bridge the gap. I put baby genius on while I make dinner and all my kids learned animal sounds and so forth from them
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