Teachable Moments are everywhere once you start recognizing them. This post will help you find simple ways to add intentional teachable moments into your day with your child.
When my daughters were young, we had so much fun integrating learning opportunities into games and play. This happened quite often and quite naturally. Little did we know then how much they were learning when we were playing, reading, doing chores, or just talking. I am blessed to have a mom who has always been very engaged in my life. She was a stay at home mom who’s work never ended. When I became a mom, I wanted to be an intentional mom to my children just like she had been to my brothers and me.
It is never too early to teach your children basics and then build on them as they grow older. Many of the ideas on this list are basics they will build on when they begin school. Sure, children can learn these things when they start Kindergarten or first grade, but giving them a head start before they even realize they are learning, gives them a huge boost when they begin school. It also gives you the opportunity to help them develop a solid foundation for learning.
Take a deep breath and relax. You don’t need to hire a nanny, a tutor, or send your kids off to preschool to learn the basics. Just add a few things into the teachable moments you are already spending with your kiddos and they will be miles ahead!
Here are some fun and easy ways to incorporate learning into your everyday life with your children.
This post contains lots of links to items that we’ve loved sharing with our kids. This post may contain affiliate links and we may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Language Arts – Reading
- Play games with words. Practice finding rhyming words, opposites (antonyms), or synonyms. We loved to play this game while we were doing dishes. I would say something like “what is a word that rhymes with fat?” and they would say “cat” or “hat”.
- Spelling – Learn the alphabet song. Teach your child the sounds of the letters and practice sounding out words or finding words that have certain letter sounds in them. See how many words you can come up with that start with the letter T or S, etc.
- Read aloud – This helps children with story-telling, sequencing, grammar, proper sentence structure, language acquisition and learning new words, reading for context, voice inflections, and punctuation.
- Storytelling – This helps a child learn about sequencing, once upon a time…then they did… after that, they went…etc. You can also introduce adjectives and adverbs and encourage them to add those types of words into the story. “Once upon a time, there was a bear…” What kind of bear? “A big, hairy, brown and black bear.”
- Scrapbooking – tell your family story in pictures and words. This helps your child learn about history, family connections, people, and places. It also helps them develop a strong sense of their value and who they are in light of a bigger family who love them.
- Use maps – look at maps with your children and talk about where you are going, what direction, how far, etc.
- Memorize together – Bible verses (Psalm 23, Psalm 91, etc), poetry, silly rhymes and tongue twisters (Peter Piper picked a peck…, How much wood could a woodchuck chuck…)
- Books – If you have been reading to your child, they will likely want to “read” a story to you as well. Go to the library and bring home good quality story and picture books for your children and encourage them to love books. Developing a love of books and stories will encourage them to love reading later on. Make reading a book and daily part of your life. Make it a cozy time that is filled with love and security.
- Play the alphabet game in the car. Look for alphabet letters on signs and buildings and encourage your child to recognize words on signs such as STOP. If your child doesn’t recognize the letters yet, look for shapes or colors.
- Sing together. Surround your children with kid music that is singable. Just because a song is popular on the radio doesn’t mean it’s singable for a child. Pick music that includes songs that you can sing together, echo songs like Down by the Bay and Bill Grogan’s Goat, story songs that tell a story, rounds, silly songs, repetitive/predictable songs like Old MacDonald, Christian songs, scripture songs.
- Music has the ability to help a child (or adult) learn something and remember it more easily than without music. Songs based on scriptures will stick in your head much more easily than just trying to memorize a scripture verse. We also learned to skip count by music and then all you had to do was remember which song it went with and you could skip count. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, etc.
- Music and singing helps a child learn pitch, beat and rhythm. One game we used to play in the car was listening to different music and trying to figure out if it was 3/4, 4/4, or 6/8 time. This was obviously an extension of earlier “music lessons,” but we had fun trying to be the first to figure out the timing.
Play Games as a Family
My Dad loved to play games when we were little and often he would bring out a board game and lay it in the middle of the table while we ate supper. We were so excited when we saw him coming with a game because it meant that supper would last longer and often my mom would laugh so hard she would have tears running down her face because of something funny that inevitably happened while were playing games.
Some of our favorites are:
- Uno (patterns in numbers and colors, same and different)
- Dutch Blitz (patterns in numbers, counting)
- Skipbo (numbers and colors)
- Spot It (same and different)
- Monopoly (money)
- Sorry (colors, clockwise/counterclockwise, counting)
- Chutes and Ladders (counting, left/right, up/down, taking turns)
- The Never Ending Story (storytelling, sequencing)
- Rummikub (adding/subtracting, patterns)
- Boggle and Boggle Jr. (spelling, recognizing letters and words)
- Scrabble and Scrabble Jr. (letters, spelling, sequencing)
- Tri-ominoes (same/different, counting, matching)
- Dominoes (counting, matching, recognizing groups or sets, same/different, patterns)
Take a few moments to write down a few ideas and add to them each week. I’ll bet you are already doing many of these things with your child and that is fantastic! In my full-time job as a teacher, I see many children come to school with a tool kit of knowledge that they have learned through interacting with their parents and intentional teachable moments that encouraged them to learn. There are other children who have missed those teachable moments and struggle to catch up in school. Just by reading this post, your child is on the road to success because you are looking for ways to encourage their learning. I’m proud of you! Enjoy the journey of teaching your child new things and setting them up for success!
I would love to hear the ways you capture teachable moments with your kids. How do you prepare your child for school by making learning fun and easy at home? Drop a comment below. If you know a mom who would like these ideas, please share this with her. Thanks for Pinning it for later or sharing it on Facebook!
Want more ideas to Capture Teachable Moments in Math, Science, puzzles, and toys that enhance learning?
Check out Capturing Teachable Moments – Part 2.