I remember thinking how excited I was when I decided to go to college to get my degree in Early Childhood Education. I couldn't wait to learn the best ways to teach my kids their abc's and 123's. I was determined to have the smartest kids in the world all because of what I was going to learn in college. And then I went to my classes and had the biggest awakening of my life. Every single professor told me DO NOT SPEND YOUR TIME TEACHING THEM THEIR LETTERS AND NUMBERS! I was shocked! I could have sworn they were wrong and that their was no way they could honestly be telling me to not teach my children their letters and numbers. But they insisted on this over and over and over and over. Finally I decided I would hear them out and try to figure out what on earth I was supposed to teach them to be ready for school and do you want to know what that was? It was to provide developmentally appropraite activities to children that used as many senses as humanly possible to help them develop a love of learning. That's it! The absolute best way you can prepare your children for school is to expose them to as many things you possibly can in the most fun way you can possibly think of! Here are some suggestions:
Roll up playdoh into snakes and make letters and numbers out of the snakes
Fill up a pie tin with flour and give them chopsticks and have them make designs in the flour
While playing in the mud, sand, snow, use your fingers to write their name or draw pictures
Give them a blank piece of paper and any writing tool and just let them go wild.
READ TO YOUR CHILD A BOOK A DAY FROM BIRTH!
The only way your child will learn to read is if they are read to!
Make patterns out of buttons, rocks, leaves, anything!
Count items around the house
Have children make groups of items that are the same - i.e. put all your girl barbies in one pile and your boy barbies in another.
blow up a balloon
cook with them
make messes with sand and water, cornstarch and water, flour and water
If you are ever trying to think of the best way to teach your child always remember this: the more senses involved in the activity the quicker they will learn. Can they smell it, taste it, hear it, feel it, see it? This even applies to teenagers! Make it real and concrete!