Educational opportunities abound throughout each day! We just have to change the way we think and look for them. Perhaps these suggestions will get your wheels turning:
Count the plates while setting them for dinner. Show your preschooler the order of the knives and forks on the table and have them match the sequence for the other place settings.
Divide the cookies together so that each family member gets equal amounts.
Look at the trees, birds, or flowers together. Discuss the weather, the seasons, and the temperature. Watch the butterflies in the flower garden or the birds at the feeder.
Go to the library and check out a picture book on butterflies or birds.
Identify some of the wild flowers in your neighborhood. Press them in a book.
Observe how a houseplant grows toward the light source or how it droops when it needs watered.
Sing the alphabet song.
Teach him or her to sign his or her name on notes to Grandma. (Practice by using sidewalk chalk outside!)
Learn to help sort clothes by color.
Read picture books aloud. Discuss the contents briefly.
Listen to classical music, folk music, and short dramatized audio.
Find Dover coloring books at local museums or online. Have special coloring time together and discuss the pictures briefly.
Dress up with sunbonnets, pinner caps, cowboy hats, etc. Pretend about going west or being Laura Ingalls.
Read the Bible together and let them hunt for the word “God” on the pages.
Learn to follow two step commands, e.g. Go get the diaper for mommy and then throw this in the wastebasket. Progress to three step instructions.
Count DUPLOs, later in towers of ten blocks – by tens.
Identify coins – penny, nickel, and dime. Sort them out into piles.
Learn to pick up toys, help make the bed, and other age-appropriate chores together. Demonstrate how to do the chore first, then do it together. Work up to them doing it by themselves with verbal reminders and lots of smiles and cheering.
Learn to say “thank you,” “please,” give eye contact to adults, etc. Practice being cheerfully obedient.
Most importantly, educate naturally throughout the day. Incorporate a few things during your usual day and allow learning to happen naturally over the weeks and months of the year. Don’t underestimate repetition. Make it fun! Enjoy learning and enjoy each other!