Activities to Improve Numbers and Vocabulary
Materials You Will Need: Five small, clear containers (all the same size), 15 pennies, tray, basket
What to Do: This activity will help your child begin to develop counting concepts. Place the five containers in front of your child. Put a penny in the first container and count "one." (Be sure your child hears each penny as it falls into the container.) Put two pennies in the second container. Continue until you put five pennies in the fifth container. Then let you child do it. Note: Your child may be interested only in putting the pennies in and out of the containers. This is a great hand-eye coordination activity.
Variations: Use the same-size Lego pieces.
Skills Learned: Counting concepts, eye-hand coordination, listening
Materials You Will Need: Chalk
What to Do: If you're able to be outdoors, write the numerals one to seven on the driveway or sidewalk. Have your child locate and stand on the number you call out; for instance, "Stand on number five," "Sit on number seven," and so forth.
Variations: Use different-colored chalk to write a set of numerals in each color. Then say, "Stand on the blue number two," etc. Some chalk can even be used on carpeting indoors.
Skills Learned: Listening, counting concepts
Materials You Will Need: Photos
What to Do: This activity involves matching, a skill that is important for math and reading. Take a photo of each room in your home and separate photos of objects that belong in each of the rooms. Line up the photos of each room. Put the other photos in a stack. As your child selects an object photo, see if your child knows the room where it belongs. For example, ask your child to put the picture of the refrigerator next to the room where you can find the refrigerator.
Variations: Label each photo and create a book that shows the matching pairs.
Skills Learned: Language development, classifying, matching, visual discrimination
What to Do: Language concepts are learned through play. Enjoy this language game with your child, as you say, "Sit AGAINST the wall," "Walk AROUND the chair," "Sit ON the chair," "Get OFF the chair," "Go OUT the door." "Come IN the door." Ask your child to tell you to do some actions.
Variations: Repeat the activity when you are with your child. This reinforces the concepts.
Skills Learned: Listening, language development
What to Do: Your child's curiosity will be piqued with this fun activity. Collect a number of familiar items that your child uses: special toys, hairbrush, drinking cup, set of keys, shoe, ball. Place each item in a small bag and tape it closed. As you sit with your child, bring out one bag at a time and let your child feel the bag. Encourage your child to guess the content of each bag. When the correct guess is made, let your child open the bag.
Variations: Have your child hide items for you to find.
Skills Learned: Problem solving, tactile stimulation
Materials You Will Need: Fruits and vegetables, play grocery cart
What to Do: Role-playing helps prepare children for the future. Download pictures of favorite fruits and vegetables. Show one of the pictures to your child saying, "I need some fruit. Will you go to the store and buy me some apples?" Have your child place the food in the grocery cart. Continue playing the game, using the word for the fruit or vegetable and naming the one you want. It is important to say, "Thank you" each time your child brings you the object. This is how children learn social skills.
Variations: Take photos of fruits and vegetables with your phone.
Skills Learned: Language development, concept development, social development
These activities originally appeared on Productive Parenting and are reprinted with permission. To receive additional daily activity suggestions based on your child's age, visit www.productiveparenting.com.