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Early Childhood Education

How to Teach the Alphabet to Preschoolers

Are you wondering how to teach the alphabet to your child or preschool students? Most children are able to start learning alphabets between the ages of two and three. Learning alphabets is the first step towards developing language and literacy skills in young children. The goal is to teach your child to recognize the letters of the alphabets and the sounds connected to each letter. Remember this is not a one-day, one-week or even a one-month task. Letter recognition is a skill that takes time and patience to develop and master. We have put together some tips and fun activities to get you started on this process.

How to teach the alphabet to your child?

How to Teach the Alphabet to Preschoolers: Five Fun Activities for Teaching Alphabet to Children

Start with the Child’s own Name

Teach Your Child The AlphabetYour child is most likely interested in learning his own name more than anything else. Start by helping your child to recognize the letters in his name. Spell out your child’s name with a pen or a marker on a piece of paper. Try to focus on the first letter of his name first. The first letter in a child’s name is always the first alphabet a child learns. Pointing at the first letter in his name with your finger, ask the question, “What’s the first letter in your name?” Then you say something like this “A is for Alexander” or “S is for Sarah”.

Let’s Play Letter Games

There are many games you can use to help your child with letter recognition. Use washable Fingerpaints and ask your child to draw the letters he has learned in uppercase and lowercase on a drawing board. Another game is to ask your child to use Fingerpaints and draw things that start with a particular letter. For instance with letter “B”, he can draw a Ball, a Box and a Bird. Use one drawing board per letter. This way you can save your child’s artwork and come back to it after a few days for more letter practice.

Use Alphabet Puzzles

Use Alphabet Puzzles to teach your child the alphabetsAlphabet Puzzles are excellent tools for teaching ABCs to preschoolers. You might want to start with an alphabet puzzle after your child has learned at least a hand full of letters. This way he can use the alphabet puzzle as a learning toy to expand his letter recognition skill and have some fun playing at the same time. Alphabet puzzles are important learning tools as they make children see all the alphabets next to each other in a big picture and help them understand the alphabetical order and the letter sequence.

Letter of the Day Magazine Game

Select a letter for the day and write the letter in big size uppercase format in a large sheet of paper. Ask your child to search through pages of a magazine or newspaper and cut out all the words that start with that letter. Ask your child to focus on two or three sheets. After he gathers all the cut-out pieces, read the words together aloud. This last exercise helps your child to become familiar with how a particular letter sounds in different words.

Read Alphabet Books Together

Buy alphabet books that have a lot of pictures in them. Alphabet books are available in a variety of themes and topics such as colors, animals, farms, foods, and the list continues. Pick your first subject based on your child’s interest. Read the book aloud with your child. Be patient and spend as much time as necessary to help your child get familiar with each letter.

 

 

How to Choose a Preschool? Five Qualities to Look for When Choosing a Preschool for Your Child

How to Choose a Preschool for Your Child

Is your child between the ages of 3 and 5 and you’re wondering how to choose a preschool that’s best for him? Finding the right preschool could be a hard and confusing task for some parents. A quality preschool builds the foundation for higher social and educational development in young children. Here are the top five characteristics you need to consider when choosing a preschool for your child.

 

First Things First: Safety and Security

First thing to look for when choosing a preschool for your child is the safety and security of the preschool building and its settings. Here are some questions to consider asking when deciding on a new preschool for your child. Are children monitored at all times? Is the outdoor play area gated and secure? Is all furniture and play equipment safe and child-proof? Is the environment clean and free of toxic and harmful chemicals? If the answers to all of these questions are Yes, then you can assure that the designated preschool is promoting a safe environment for children.

Positive and Personal Teacher-Child Relationship

The relationship between the preschool teachers and children is a good indication of the quality of a preschool program. Teachers should be able to establish a positive and personal relationship with every child. Teachers who spend time to know their students, their needs and feelings, contribute the most to early childhood education and development of students. Children should feel that their teachers like them and care for them. Positive and bonding relationships between teachers and children will help preschoolers develop a sense of belonging to the educational environment and help them transition more easily to higher educational levels.

An Environment that Encourages Play and Exploration

How to Choose a Preschool for Your ChildChildren should be given the opportunity to play and explore. A good preschool should provide children with quality toys, materials and equipment that make kids interested and excited to play, learn and experiment. Are children given fee time for independent play? Do the preschool facilities promote creativity in children’s activities? Are children allowed to express their ideas and feelings freely? These are the questions you need to consider when deciding whether a preschool supports play and exploration in their program.

An Environment Where Children Learn

Preschool is the right time for children to learn ABCs, numbers and new vocabulary. Children at this stage should participate in fun experiments that teach basic math and scientific concepts. Ask about the educational programs your preschool has to offer. An effective educational program should challenge the children’s mind and thinking and motivate them to learn and receive new information. Some preschools promote extra activities such as music, art and dance where children can explore their talents and abilities in different areas.

Daily Reading Time

Good preschool programs promote literacy in young children and help them prepare for transition to kindergarten and elementary school. Reading should be part of the daily activities of children. Ask if teachers will read to the students on a daily basis. What types of books are read? Do they meet your family and belief standards? Reading loud to preschoolers help them develop better linguistic knowledge and experiences and prevent reading difficulties when entering the higher educational grades.

 

Related Articles:

Developmental Toys for Preschools and Kindergartens: Toys that Encourage Physical Activities

 

The Good Parenting Skills You Must Develop from the Start

Good Parenting Skills Every Parent Needs to Follow
Let’s face the truth! Parenting is hard and it comes with a lot of conflicts and challenges. Good parenting skills take a long time to learn and develop. Raising a good kid takes a lot of effort and hard work. Here are the top good parenting skills that you must learn to employ starting from your child’s early ages. These small and basic tips will help you become a better and happier parent.

Establish Your Authority from an Early Age

The number one rule for developing good parenting skills is to teach your child to accept “No” as an answer. Your child needs to know that you mean what you say and there has to be no negotiation afterward. You must start to set limits for your child from a very early age. Remember, the longer you put this off, the harder it’s going to get. Start establishing rules as soon as your child learns how to walk. For example, you don’t let your toddler to play with the oven or hold a knife and walk around. This establishes your authority as a parent.

Reward Your Child When He or She Obeys

When your child obeys you and follows your directions, make sure you show appreciation. This is one of the most ignored good parenting skills among parents. Your child needs to know the difference between the good and the bad conduct. Rewarding your child for a good behavior is a positive parenting skill that teaches your child he or she is doing the right thing. The best practice is to reward your child with hugs, kisses and attention rather than with food, toys or other materials. This will strengthen the bond between you and your child and prevents the obedience from becoming a conditional behavior.

Promote Play Activities that Encourage Learning and Creativity

TV, internet and video games can start to occupy a big portion of your child’s play time that could be spent on effective educational play activities. Provide your child with play opportunities that encourage learning and creativity and help them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Learning toys such as Puzzles, Building Blocks and Pretend Play Toys, provides your child the opportunity to learn, think, remember, and solve problems using his or her thinking and understanding while having fun and being entertained.

Benefits of Shape Sorter Toys for Toddlers

Shape sorters are classic toddler toys and one of the first learning toys every young child gets to play with. The best time for introducing shape sorters to your toddler is around the age of 15 to 18 months when he or she is able to sort and categorize objects based on their similar characteristics. Sorting is fun for toddlers and come with many benefits. Below are the four major benefits of shape sorter toys for toddlers.

Shape and Color RecognitionBenefits of Shape Sorter Toys for Toddlers

The primary function of a shape sorter toy is to teach toddlers about shapes and colors. Shape sorters are also the primary educational toys for teaching toddlers to say the names of various shapes and colors. Most shape sorters include basic shapes such as square, circle, triangle and rectangle. Some shape sorters include advanced shapes such as hexagonal, star, diamond and parallelogram. Each shape is usually painted with a distinct color giving toddlers the opportunity to differentiate between assorted shapes and colors. Shape sorters help toddlers understand that there are shapes and there are colors. They teach toddlers the ability to recognize the visual characteristics of objects.

Teaching Problem-Solving Skills to Toddlers

Problem solving is a life-long learning skill that has to develop in children from a very early age. Using a shape sorter, a toddler learns how to find a solution to a basic problem. Toddler tries to fit a shape into a hole and if it doesn’t fit, he or she will try another shape until it fits and drops into the right location. Shape sorters present a fun challenge to young children as they try to figure out how to find the right fit for each shape. This process helps toddlers develop curiosity and patience as they use their thinking abilities to work through achieving a defined goal.

Learning about Cause and EffectBenefits of Shape Sorter Toys for Toddlers

Shape sorters teach toddlers the cause and effect of their actions. Pushing shapes through the holes, toddlers see the objects disappearing into the box and realize that they have selected the correct shapes and matching holes. Once a shape falls into a hole, the toddler can open the box and find the same shape again. Through this process toddlers make decisions, take actions, observe the results and become familiar with right and wrong choices.

Enhancing Developmental Skills in Toddlers

Shape sorters are great learning toys for enhancing certain developmental skills in toddlers such as fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Playing with shapes, toddlers use their hands and fingers to hold and manipulate objects. Toddlers use their eyes to analyze the boundaries of the shapes and the matching holes from the box. These activities train and prepare your toddler for performing daily tasks such as grasping and picking up objects, holding a spoon to eat or holding a crayon to draw.

How to Teach Your Child to Read in Five Easy Steps

Teaching your child to read is a process that takes both time and practice. As a parent, you have the power to motivate your child to read and to help them grow into adults who will read easily and frequently. Learn To Play Toys knows how important reading is for children to develop necessary language and literacy skills. As a general rule, your goal should be to get your children to love books so they can start to read books. Here we present our best practices on how to teach your child to read in five easy steps.

ONE | Read to Your Child RegularlyHow to teach your child to read in five easy steps.

The number one rule for getting children interested in reading is to read to them on a regular basis. Find books that your children love, and start reading to them aloud on a daily basis. You can start this routine as early as your child turns one year old and continue this through the elementary school years.

TWO | Make Good Books Available to Your Child

Your child won’t be able to read, if books are not available to them. Do some research on the internet and find some good books with rich family and educational values. You can also ask your child about what books he or she is most interested in and do some book shopping together.

THREE | Be a Good Reading Role ModelHow to teach your child to read.

Teaching your child to read is much easier, when he or she sees you read on a regular basis. If you’re not a big fan of reading books, it’s now time to make some changes in your reading lifestyle. Your child will follow your footsteps and you need to be a good example for them. Make sure you spend some time each week to read books. Show your child that reading is important to you.

FOUR | Identify Letters and Words in Your Environment

Next time you go on a road trip with children in the car, try to encourage them to read the signs they see on the streets. Letters and words are almost everywhere. Street names, traffic signs and store names all have something for your child to read.

FIVE | Have Your Child Memorize Rhymes

Teaching your child to read can be fun and musical at the same time. Sing nursery rhymes to your children and have them memorize and recite the songs back to you. Nursery rhymes help your child develop letter recognition and become familiar with vowels and sounds.

Toys that Teach Math, Numbers and Counting to Young Children

Learning about numbers is an important educational skill taught to children in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Math learning starts with counting and number recognition. One of the excellent tools available to parents and educators for building a foundation for more complex math concepts are toys that teach math, numbers and counting to children. These toys can be used both at home for basic math practice and homeschooling or in schools as part of the early childhood curriculum. Early exposure to mathematical concepts help young children develop necessary skills required for practicing more advanced concepts. Here Learn To Play Toys introduces five toys from our collection of toys that teach math, numbers and counting to help you introduce basic math and counting skills to your young children or students.

Math Skills Number Puzzle
Math Skills Number Puzzle

Math Skills Number Puzzle is a complete learning center that teaches math, numbers and counting to young children.

  • Kids can use this educational toy as a math puzzle to learn number recognition and counting sequence.
  • The math function signs teach simple addition and subtraction functions.
  • Kids can use the accompanying traceable chalkboard to learn how to write numbers.
  • Recommended Age: 4 to 7 years

 

Abacus
Abacus - Toys that Teach Math

Abacus is a classic learning toy for teaching counting and basic math functions to children through visual observation and moving of physical objects.

  • Kids can practice counting by sliding the colorful beads.
  • Kids can learn basic math functions including addition, subtraction and multiplication.
  • Abacus is also a great tool for teaching color recognition to toddlers.
  • Recommended Age: 3 years and up.

 

 

 

Traceable Numbers
Traceable Numbers - Math Puzzle

Traceable Numbers is a giant number puzzle that teaches numbers and counting to children. This is another classing counting toy for younger children to learn basic number identification without involvement of math functions.

  • Kids learn the shape of the numbers from 0 to 9.
  • Kids learn how to count in sequence.
  • Brightly colored pieces help kids develop color recognition skills.
  • Recommended Age: 3 to 6 years

 

Counting Ball
Counting Ball - Math Toy

Counting Ball is a dynamic learning toy that encourages learning subtraction and addition through the use of five colored counting balls. This basic math toy provides hours of exciting learning experience for children.

  • Kids learn how to work out simple addition and subtraction with numbers from 1 to 5.
  • Kids are able to gain visual understanding of addition and subtraction math functions.
  • Recommended Age: 1.5 years and up

 

 

Tumble Down Counting Toy
Tumble Down Counting Toy

With Tumble Down Counting Toy, your toddler learns number and counting skills in an active and engaging way. The accompanying pegs help kids understand the concrete meaning behind each number.

  • Kids learn to how to repeat numbers from 0 to 10 in sequence.
  • Kids gain a visual recognition of quantities associated with numerical symbols.
  • Recommended Age: 2 to 4 years

 

Parental Involvement in Education of Young Children

Best Practices for Contributing To Your Child’s Education and Development

Sending your kids to the best school and providing them the best educational resources is not enough to guarantee their success. Active parental involvement in education and development of children has great impacts on children’s lives and behaviors. Parental involvement should be present both at home and in school. The reality is most parents don’t have the time to be involved in every school activity during each school year. Learn To Play Toys recommends some specific ways to help parents be actively involved in education of their children both at home and in school. Parental Involvement in Education of Young Children

Read to Your Child

Helping your child to become a regular reader is one of the most important decisions that you can make to help the child succeed in school. Reading has to start from home and parents are the ones who need to initiate this as early as possible. Start reading to your child at a very young age before he or she enters the pre-school. Pick a book that interests your child and start reading it together every night. Read the book aloud. This is the time for your child to bond with you and learn. This reading activity is the first step towards making your child a future independent reader.

Check Homework Every Night

Check your child’s homework every night and make sure he or she understands the material correctly. You can make suggestions and give your child directions but make sure the homework is done by the child and not you. Kids never grow if they don’t try on their own and they never learn if they don’t make any mistakes. Encourage a daily routine for starting the homework. The best time for doing the homework is right after the school.

Talk to Your Child Regularly about What’s Going on in School

One of the most important elements of parental involvement in education and development of children is communication. Your child spends a good amount of time each day in school interacting with teachers and other children. As a parent you must know how and with whom your child is spending this time. Make sure you ask open-ended questions like these regularly: How was the school today? What was the best part of your day? Who did you play with? Can you show me something that you learned today?

Become a Classroom Helper

Volunteering in your child’s classroom is the single best action you can take to get to know what exactly happens inside the school. This is also a great way to show your child that you care about his or her education and it is an excellent way to demonstrate that school is a very important entity. If you want to consider becoming a classroom helper, make sure you approach your child’s teacher or the principal early in the school year and show your interest.

Participate in Parent-Teacher Association

If you can’t become a classroom helper, participating in a parent teacher association can be a great way to boost your parental involvement in education of your child. Parent-teacher associations are regularly held meetings among the teachers and parents during the school year to discuss topics such as school activities, education and well-being of students. This is a great time to let the school know what is important to you in regards to your child’s education as a parent. Get to know your child’s teachers and establish a regular communication with them to learn about your child’s progress and improvements.

Accompany Your Child’s Class on a Field Trip

Accompanying your child’s class on a field trip as a volunteer is a great way to get to know your child’s friends and teachers at a closer level. This is more prominent on field trips that require an overnight stay. Acting as a volunteer during a field trip, you not only help the school but also find the opportunity to watch your child’s behavior and the interactions among teachers and children from a distance.