27 February 2014

Early Learning Opportunities for Children

I just don't know how some families keep everything together and stay on top of all the duties that come part and parcel with raising a family.  One area that I've thought a lot about but not really done much with is in regards to preparing Matthew for preschool and Kindergarten (he's only 2 1/2, is it time to start doing this already?!?) and for that matter, getting Luke on board with early learning as well.  Aside from lots and lots of toddler play where we've encouraged Matthew to learn colors, new vocabulary words, memorizing 1-10, memorizing the ABC song and the like, I haven't been pushing him with iPad apps, flashcards, workbooks, reading sight words, etc.  I was inspired recently by a friend of mine to be more intentional with playtime and got organized this week with iPad apps.  Here is a list my friend compiled of her daughter's favorite apps as well as a longer listing of apps for various learning purposes.  I downloaded quite a few of these and then organized them into various categories on the iPad: ABC's, counting, reading, sign language, music, interactive books, games, etc.  And then after Matthew went to bed last night, I deleted YouTube from our iPad!  He's become obsessed with a channel called "Tuttitu", which is fortunately age appropriate as the majority of things on YouTube are not, however he cries and begs for it and gets upset when we turn it off and I'd prefer we use the iPad for learning over entertainment. 

Ellie's Favorite Apps

Additionally, last week I downloaded the BrillKids Little Reader program to our PC and then purchased their iAccess program to get it installed on our iPad.  We were quite fortunate to receive a Special Needs Scholarship from the Early Education for Every Child Foundation and have been using it with Matthew and Luke both over the course of the last week.  It's intuitive and fun and keeps both of their attention.  Matthew asks every night for his "reading game" and Luke is always on Matthew's heels as we're getting it loaded on the iPad.  Typically, Matthew does the interactive part with the touch screen and Luke sits next to him and watches for now.  Soon I hope to be doing separate lessons with each of them. 

Finally, the same friend who shared "Ellie's Favorite Apps" also shared a link to a website called K12Reader.com and particularly pointed me to their Dolch Word List Worksheets and Activities.  She mentioned that she started her daughter with the Dolch Word Lists - Flashcards (the 3rd bullet down on the page) and since I have a laminator, I plan to get these printed out and laminated this weekend so we can start with sight workd flashcards to support early reading too. 

What do you do to support early learning with your children? Please share in the comments below!

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