3) EDUCATIONAL TOYS
- Alphabet Push-out Puzzles
When she turned one, we got these push-out puzzles as a gift and she really liked it. Aside from finding where the letters and objects fit, she was able to relate this to the videos she often viewed, and she was so glad it was something she can touch and hold instead of just see on screen. She woke me up each morning saying, “The letters. The letters!” I gave one board at a time and I tried to make it as fun as I can on my half awake state. This has become my rule when it comes to early learning by the way – to always keep it fun and stop when it’s not fun for her anymore.
This tandem (phonics songs + alphabet toys) made her master the sounds of the alphabet letters and made her understand that the words we say everyday start with letters.
- 3-Letter-Word Picture Puzzles
When she could already name 3-4 words that start with every letter, we thought it was time to level up a little. We bought these 3-piece self-correcting puzzles for P150 to see if she’ll like it. I know it says spelling on the box, but that wasn’t our goal. Too early to learn spelling! We just wanted to see if she’s ready to sound off the letters and form 3 letter words. It turned out she was ready for both! And I think putting the pieces together to form an animal or an object also helped a lot in making this a fun learning experience for her. See this video when she was 18 months old.
- Magnetic Letters / Fridge Magnets
Aside from keeping her busy while I clean up in the kitchen, these letter magnets helped her form words and start reading them. We went Juh-A-Rrr = JAR. Buh-Eh-D = BED and so on as she moved the letter magnets together. Again, no pushing. We stopped when she seemed not into it anymore. And then we paired these toys with another video from KidsTV123 that teaches 1st level reading in a fun way. Here it is:
As you may have noticed, this has become our style.
Videos + Toys + Parent Involvement = Unexpected Awesomeness!
Videos to view and toys to hold really complement each other. It makes them excited to play when they have seen it on screen first. They even sing or hum the song while playing. And all you need to add is a little guidance and you’ll be surprised on how brilliant babies can be.
I was amazed on how she easily absorbed the idea that letters make sounds and these sounds, when put together, make words. I really thought this was too complicated for babies to grasp. Our daughter herself looked delighted every time she sees a word around the house or on the streets that she can already read. I often shook my head in disbelief. I seriously didn’t think it was possible to have a reading toddler.
I guess, at that point, I was the one overwhelmed with how fast things were going. That is why after following her cues and watching how excited she gets with every game, activity, and video that involves letters and reading, I decided to stop. Moving up to 4-letter words is already too much, I thought. We’ll leave that to school teachers.
But I was wrong (again). The LIGHT incident I was telling you about earlier happened. She wanted to keep going.