Bonnie Anderson is a dear friend of mine and extremely qualified to talk about what to do with little children! (see her credentials below) I invited her to be our guest at “A Mom Thing” last night and to share activities and teaching ideas for little children, especially what they can do while you are needing one-on-one teaching time with an older child. She shared with us so many wonderful ideas. Here is Part 1 from the notes I took on:
Ideas For Activities That Teach Little Ones Important Concepts
Have an overstuffed chair to curl up in and get cozy to read to your children. Reading to your children is very important! Pick books with lots of pictures for your little ones. They love the visuals–you can talk through the book with them as you look at the pictures and they can tell you what’s going to happen next; an important skill to be able to think ahead to what will happen.
- Their own Bible: She recommends The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes, by Kenneth Taylor ISBN 0-8024-0595-9
- A Large Magnifying Glass (sturdy, easy to hold for little hands, sturdy plastic)
- Round wood pieces you put into holes, colored ones even better
“Contracts”: A Paper with the agreed-upon “work” they are to do in the time allotted
- A Written list (with pictures) of “their work” for their schoolday
- Have Special things which they use only during this time (when you’re working with older children)
- Put an Animal shape on the page: they can look for that shape in the “school area” to find the next thing they’re to do.
- Tape your voice reading a story or talking
- Put a sticker or picture of a puzzle: Do 3 puzzles: Let them make the decision of which ones; teaches decision-making
- Hang clothes on a “clothesline”: String a light rope up where they can clip real clothes or construction paper clothes (clip a large green dot on the left of the rope and a large red dot on the right)
- Always have them go from left to right in everything they do, reinforces left to right in reading and writing
Resources: (Older resources are probably out of print, so you may have to hunt for them)
- Montessori: teaches how to fold a napkin and make a pile of them, and put away. Scrubbing, cleaning a Conch shell, getting in the crevises. Teaches how to work–to do things. Once taught, they can do that as their “work” in their schoolday.
- Book: Homemade Toys That Teach II, by Rhoda Redleaf, Toys’n Things Press, illustrated by Ellen Krans
- Book: Mathematics Their Way, Things you can make to teach, by Mary Baratta-Lorton
- Teach how to glue: there’s a product with a red top that replaces the normal glue top, which only allows one drop to come out
- They receive a Reward of placing something to indicate they completed the task: a button on the Gingerbread Man, (he has three buttons–one for each of the three things they are to do)
- Match the Reward to their likes: glue, buttons, paint, etc.
- “Place your finished items on this shelf where I can see your work later”
- Give the praise when Mama’s free–they’re learning independence
- Puzzles–independent pieces, with knobs; Choose puzzles that teach something: e.g. development of a frog
Teaching Motor Skills
- Teach to Trace: teach how to hold a pencil correctly
- Later teach how to read cursive, so they’ll be able to read letters written by their Grandma’s
- Teach “pulling down” on letters, not up; start with tracing with their fingers; draw in the sandbox
- Learn Block Letters–Direction is important
Teaching Visual Skills
- Matching activities and games
- Make a pizza round with pictures on the wedges–have them clothespin the two that match
- Make it self-checking: on the back put matching colored dots, so turning over they know immediately if they got it right: They want to get it right!
- Memory Games–Look for old games at Garage Sales: Four Seasons Memory Game (teaching something as they play)
- Dominoes (Big chunky ones): e.g. Add on to the end of the picture the piece that matches
- Dominoes Colors
These activities introduce everything that’s in a “Contract”. You can start as young as 2-1/2 years old, depending on the child. You know your child best.
About Bonnie: Go to her Timeline of History here.
Bonnie Anderson has been a Teach Institute and Accreditation Association consultant for 25 years. She is a former Kindergarten teacher, and loves using her creativity working with families and children. She is a wife and mom who Homeschooled her own two sons, Ben and Dan, who now are grownup and on their own and one was married this past year. Bonnie loves books, and sells used children’s books through her business, Bonnie’s Books. She has a personal library of over 20,000 used children’s books. She specializes in historical fiction, but has her loft filled with books for younger “readers”. She loves to collect the stuffed animal or doll which “is” the character for a particular book.