Ok so I said I would never be one of those parents that sat with flashcards trying to “teach” my toddler things. It turns out I wasn't the one making that decision.
Recently Lewis has been drawn to books and puzzles with objects on them, pointing and asking “What’s that?” at literally everything he sees. It turns out having simple things like flashcards make these demands much easier to cope with, and channel the madness of a toddler just a little.
As a teacher I've always used a range of flashcards and things so the concept wasn't unfamiliar. I wanted something simple and easy to use but I also wanted something nice and not school like. I am all about the fun and incidental learning. I managed to get some beautiful things from Little Boo Learning.
Feelings and Emotions
So we all know about toddler tantrums yes? Well as a first time Mum doing everything by the book type parent I like to follow suggested ways to deal with tantrums.
Turns out again there is no magic recipe. Most of the time I end up sat next to him and say “I'm here” (turns out saying ''It's OK'' isn't helpful either, when you're a toddler and you're upset to you it's not ok and it might make you worse if someone tells you it is) and just let him ride out all his emotions.
Now that I've started using the flashcards I can bring them out and ask him if he's sad, angry or any number of feelings. I’m hoping the more I say things like Lewis is sad or Lewis is angry he will start to realise and will be able to tell us instead of us himself.
We also use the lovely emotions matching mat with a mirror. We like to model the faces and get Lewis to try too. Then he has to match the pictures to the mat like snap.
I really don’t think you can start too early with feelings and emotions. Society puts too much emphasis on everything always having to be perfect and rosy when in reality most of us are happy to make it through a day a lot of the time. It really is ok not to be ok. I am mostly a happy person but I still like to work on my mental health too. In my spare time (yes I actually make some for myself now) I am reading Happy by Fearne Cotton. It is well worth a wee look even if you do see yourself as happy or content.
Literally my favourite subject ever. I know I am in a weird minority here. I’m actually not the best at maths but it’s something I really do love. Go figure I married an accountant, who by the way is worse than me at maths, I can say that knowing full well he won’t read this!
Anyways back to these beautiful flashcards. Beautifully presented with ribbon tied round them in a perfect little box for safe keeping. These numbers have the word, number and collection of animals to count.
I like to indulge my teacher self every once and a while. For the activity I used lollypop sticks, coloured cups and the number cards 1-6. I had carefully counted out corresponding numbers of lollypop sticks in each colour coordinated cup with each flashcard, still with me. I thought so!
Then I laid these out all randomly on Lewis’s play table for him to explore. Again always a fan of incidental learning I was surprised to see Lewis focused on the cups first. He put them in a line then stacked them, carried them over to the coffee table, separated them then poured the water from his sippy cup into each cup. Then he got me, his monkey and anything he could get to drink from the cups. What I thought was a number matching activity was actually a pouring and drinking activity in his mind.
Thinking a little bit outside the box I got our pom pom wool out and strung it between his little play chairs. Then I started pegging up numbers to get him to look at the line and count along. Again always on his own agenda, Lewis decided this would be the perfect time to learn how to peg tiny pegs on to the most awkward line Mummy could find. Give him his dues he persevered and between us we managed to make some sort of number line. He then counted each card as he always does- one, one, one, one… he’s technically not wrong and I dare not correct him. Each card is one!
So there we go, a long winded explanation of why I am using flashcards. Put simply, it’s nice to be able to focus on one thing at a time. Ironic considering how many things I’ve talked about. As always thank you for reading.