Capturing Teachable Moments – Part 1

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.

 

Title with pictures of children's book covers.

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.

Music

  • 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.

Red maple leaf with raindrops behind the title Capturing Teachable Moments

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.

5 Basic Things You Should Do with your Child Everyday

11 Activities to Fill the Long Winter Days with a Preschooler (or older)

Simple Tips for Sitting in Church with a Young Child

73 Replies to “Capturing Teachable Moments – Part 1”

  1. Great list of ideas. I try to incorporate learning in daily activities as well. With my two year old I like to incorporate colors, letters and counting into most of what him and do. My 5 year old, is fun because she is learning so much we do scrapbooking, reading, crafts, cooking. Its great and I feel she is learning so much at home. I am learning a thing or two from her as well.

  2. My husband and I would incorporate music into our daily routine when my boys were little, they are now 14&12. Now we try to do the same with our girls who are 7 and 2. The huge age difference allows us to do everything again ?. We are planning to add board games to our weekend routine. Thank you for all the fun board game ideas. Raheela

  3. Great and fun ideas. My daughter and l always have music in the car and l never thought of it as a way of learning for her as well. I will be trying the alphabet game sounds like fun as well.

  4. These are such great suggestions to enrich kids’ lives as well as their parents. I know that my kids don’t remember so much of what we did together, but I treasure those memories. It is also a great way to build a loving relationship for when they hit the teen years.

  5. Yes! As a former teacher and now a mama, I can’t love this enough. People don’t realize that many of your daily interactions and playing/games with your child are actually forms of learning! Perfect!

  6. My teacher and mama heart loves this post. I am a former elementary teacher, and I now teach piano lessons from home while my children are young. Early music integration is so important. It is unbelievable the children these days who are not exposed to music regularly. It is very difficult for children to create music when they haven’t heard good music from a young age.

    • I agree so much! I also teach music at my school and so many children are missing out on music at home. Good for you for teaching piano! I taught piano lessons at home when my girls were little for about 10 years. I loved it!

  7. This is a great list — it’s so important to remember that kids learn more through the everyday stuff than they do anything else — especially during the early years.

  8. This is such a great list of ways to make learning fun! We love playing games together because it’s a great way to teach so many different skills while still having fun.

  9. I love the ways you mentioned for learning. I also find travel to be a great way to learn for kids. We did just pick up Sight Word Bingo-learning to read is so hard!

  10. We like reading together and playing games and visits to the zoo. I would take my son to the zoo after school for a couple of hours when he was in kindergarten. Always something to learn there! I like that you enjoyed scrapbooking. My kids, parents, and nieces and nephews all like to look at our scrapbooks. It engenders a sense of family and belonging.

  11. Great tips and advice for sharing teachable moments with the children in your life! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.. so many children will benefit from your post!

  12. I need to be more intentional on playing games with my kids. I love to do it and they do as well, but it always seems to be on the back burner.

    • Scrapbooking with kiddos can be a lot of fun! I found little scrapbooks for my girls at the Dollar Store and they had so much fun cutting out pictures and putting them into the scrapbooks.

  13. I love this! Raising kids I would look for these moments as well. I think a lot of parents are not looking for teachable moments!

  14. Before I became a mom, I used to worry about how I would teach my kids the basics. But now that I have three, I’ve realized that the best teachable moments come very naturally. Just showing an interest in what they are interested in opens the family up to so many opportunities for teaching and growth for both the parents and the kids.

  15. Well, now I’m feeling nostalgic. My kids are all grown up now but we enjoyed many of the memory making games and activities on your list. I sort of took a trip back in time as I read your post. I hope many young families who read your post will enjoy them in the years to come as well, especially memorizing Bible verses. My kids were in our church Awana program. They had to recite Bible verses every week, but I wish we had spent more time doing that together at home.

  16. Such a great reminder that “play” really is all about teaching/learning. The act of playing is so lost these days, I’m glad to see you writing about this!

  17. Great post! As a former homeschooling mom, I remember finding all the teachable moments with each outing we took. I miss those days, but the boys developed a sense of curiosity that remains with them in high school and college.

  18. I homeschooled my three kids through 12th grade. Our days were full of such teachable moments. Those are favorite memories. I absolutely have no regrets!

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