Colors and Shapes
I didn't have colors or shapes on my preschool list because our daughter already knows them. I found the book below at a garage sale when she was a baby, and it was her favorite for a good year or so.
It was the same way with colors. I would say, "Where is red?" and she would point to the red squigly. It took a while for her to register the concept of different items being red, but she could name most colors by the time she was two, mostly thanks to this book. I mean, we sure read it often enough! We still sometimes read this book. If I remember correctly, the first colors that she recognized were blue and green. The colors that were most difficult for her were black and brown. Even now she still sometimes gets those two confused.
At this point, our daughter knows the idea of one and two. She can't recognize the symbols for one and two, but she does know the difference between one item and two items. My goal for the next six months or so is to get her to recognize the idea of other numbers; for example, that three is more than two and four is more than three. I'm not concerned about her knowing the symbols for each number at this point.
I'm using a few different methods to instill the idea of numbers. I count things aloud as often as possible. We sing a counting song about fingers and toes. I also made dot flash cards to use as a type of game. I have her count out nuts (or candies, or whatever) onto the flash cards, and then she gets to eat them. If any of you have ideas for counting, please let me know!
I started introducing letters shortly before our daughter turned two, since she was very capable of recognizing shapes. She doesn't know any of the letter names, only the sound that the letter makes. Each letter (or, as many as possible) is connected to a person she knows. For example, my letter is "Mmmm for Mama". Right now she can recognize most of the letters and, of course, their sounds.
I'm not going to attempt to teach reading or writing until she can say all or most of the sounds properly, or when she shows an interest in doing so. I will also hold off on teaching her the names of the letters until she begins reading. For now, she knows that letters make words, and you don't know what a word says unless you can read. I think that is really enough at this age.
As I said before, I think we are a year or two away from any kind of reading. That being said, I adore reading to our toddler. I've purchased a decent amount of secondhand books and I try to read at least 3-4 books per day. If possible, I try to read books that instill good values or some kind of educational content.
One of her favorite books right now is a story called The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown. It's a nonsensical story about two kittens who mix together paint to make different colors. Several weeks ago when I was doing laundry, I poured blue detergent onto a yellow shirt. It made a big green spot on the shirt.
"Mama, that shirt green!" she said.
"You're right," I said. "I poured blue soap on that yellow shirt, and it made..."
"Green! Like the Color Kittens!" she exclaimed.
I love introducing her to new worlds and ideas through books.
Art, History, Science, etc.
I try to make our everyday lives as educational (and fun!) as possible. We definitely don't have a curriculum for anything around here. I really like the idea of Charlotte Mason style education, so I'm trying to incorporate some of that into our day. For example, teaching her the names and/or uses of different plants, pointing out what happens during different seasons, etc.
Last week I bought her a $3.00 paint set. She has already muddied up the colors quite a bit, but I love to see the joy on her face when she paints. I framed one of her pictures and set it on the kids' table in her bedroom.
Science, likewise, is something I don't go out of my way to do. I try to show her how the plants in our garden are progressing, or how we cook something to make it soft. I try to point out if something is melted, frozen, rotted, etc.
In short, academic subjects are not as important to me as instilling the love of learning into our daughter. Whether or not she becomes a great artist, writer or inventor is a choice that I will leave to her. Right now I think the most important thing for us to focus on is building good habits and fellowship in our family.
I hope this has helped or inspired you in some way!
Til next time,