How to teach your child new concepts

Shapes

Whether you are teaching your little one about shapes, colours or numbers, there is always a certain order and process to keep in mind when introducing new concepts. These easy to follow steps make learning fun!

Shapes and colours

• Teach your child about one shape or colour at a time.

• Always start with primary colours (red, blue and yellow) and basic shapes (circles, squares and triangles).

• The first step for your little one will be to sort shapes and colours. In other words if you show or hand them a red block, they must be able to group other red items with it. Likewise, if you give your child a square block, they should be able to recognise other square blocks and group them together.

• Your little one will be able to identify a shape or colour by pointing to it long before they are able to name it.

• Only once your little sweetie correctly identifies a shape or colour every time you ask them to point to it, are they ready to learn the name.

• Teach your little munchkin the name of a shape or colour and then give them practical, physical examples of the concept. For instance, tell them that a circle is round and round things like beads can roll. Similarly, explain that an apple is red, let them eat a red apple, wear a red shirt and paint with red paint.

• Exploring makes learning fun. Let your little one walk around the house holding a round ball in their hand while looking for other round objects. When learning a new colour, like red, they can roam around the garden holding a red apple and looking for other red items. You little explorer might need some guidance for instance, if they overlook an object, return to it and ask them whether they think the particular item is also round and whether it could roll or whether a strawberry is the same colour as the red apple in their hand.

• When teaching your little one about shapes, it is also a good idea to tell them about the attributes of that shape. Explain that circles are round and have no corners, squares have four corners and four sides which are all the same length and triangles have three corners and three sides.

• Only move on to the next shape or colour once your munchkin is completely familiar with the previous one.

Numbers

• Your little sweetie will be able to rote count (repeat the words ‘one, two, three’, etc.) before they understand the concept of numbers.

• The next step is for your little one to start counting objects.

• At this stage your little Einstein will start to recognise some numbers. You can help them by writing down a few numbers and asking them to point at specific ones.

• Only teach your little mathematician about the next number once you are sure they are completely familiar with the previous one!

• Remember, the concept of 0 is a difficult one to understand and best not dealt with during Early Childhood Development.

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