Use simple rhythms
Kids who learn to identify patterns in different contexts have an easier time figuring out how letters and numbers work together when they read or do math. Start by asking your child to copy your claps (slow, slow, fast, fast, fast) or steps (left, left, right, right). Chant the order so it’s a cinch to grasp.
Play I spy
Challenge kids to notice everyday arrangements, like designs on clothes or windows on buildings. Once they get savvier about identifying simpler patterns, they can find more sophisticated ones in paintings or music.
Guessing what comes next helps kids recognize repeating “units,” whether they’re numbers (as in multiplying by fives) or letters (think ph sounds like f ). Arrange letters (AA BB AA BB) and have your child finish the sequence, or have her create one for you. Sources: Linda Whitehead, Ph.D., vice president of education at Bright Horizons Family Solutions; Sally Moomaw, Ed.D., author of Teaching STEM in the Early Years
The Best Learning Toys for Kids
Photo Credit: Craig Cutler