As a former elementary school teacher and now stay-at-home mom to my "Almost Irish Triplets" I know the importance of every facet of development. I saw too many students struggle unnecessarily, in my opinion, with simple tasks. This is why I believe in introducing things "early" and letting the skills develop on their own.
For example, reading. Everyone knows the importance of reading. My twins L-O-V-E to sit in my lap and listen to book after book after book. Ethan . . . not so much, but I'm still hoping that will change :-) But the best part is when they "read to me." They will start at the beginning of a book retell parts of the story to me, and/or describe everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING in the picture. This is awesome!!! And as much as I'd love to say I taught this . . . I didn't this is what they want to do. They know I love to read and they want to read to me!!! (They turned 2 on July 22 of this year)
Letters-They love letters! My sister got them this Elmo Letters on the Go
for their birthday. By Labor Day they knew the name or had an association for all 26 letters of the alphabet. They started with things like M is "Mommy's letter" and D is "Daddy's letter and have since progressed with at least half of the letters to P is now "P Papa" and K is now "K for Katherine." This came about through play. They loved pulling the letters out and looking at the pictures underneath and asking me what they were. I never pushed them, we just played. Now they even say they want to "play letters," which means go through the letters and pop them out, name them, "spell" words, put them back, OK this part takes some reminding ;-)
Counting-the twins can rote count consistently to 5, sometimes making it all the way to 10!!! This just started by counting the snaps on their onesies after a diaper change, 1-2-3. Then increased to other objects. Noah has even begun counting objects and moving them as he counts. I didn't realize I was modeling this, but I am sure glad I did! Katherine always has 5 things. Even if it's only two grapes. She will count correctly, but then insists on continuing to 5 . . . she marches to the beat of her own drum sometimes, but I wouldn't have it any other way!!!
Yesterday I introduced tongs for fine motor skill practice. At first they needed help but within about an hour of exploring they were picking up just about any reasonable object without assistance! I do want to mention that they are using two hands still, but because this is a fun new "toy" I imagine they will transition into using just one hand in no time at all.
So, what is it that you do with the young people in your life? Any great activities? Please share!!!