Use everyday activities to teach your young children how to talk, read and count

Jun 1, 2022, 6:14 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:31 pm

LEHI, Utah –  A trip to the grocery store, a car ride, or cooking dinner may not seem like important learning experiences, but childhood development experts say these are perfect opportunities to teach your young children vital skills.

Nannette Barnes, Director of Preschool Services for the Granite School District, said these day-to-day activities have a powerful effect on a child’s development, especially before the age of five.

“All of those things that seem so simple in a natural environment are actually building into pre-literacy and pre-numeracy skills that are vital for the kids,” Barnes said.

She used the example of cooking or baking with your toddler. When it comes to reading skills, she said it is vital to have something like a grocery list or recipe you and your child can read through together.

“That print becomes meaningful to that child. That parent can help make those connections through vocabulary through that dialogue,” Barnes said.

While reading through the recipe, she said you could practice counting with your child by sorting the ingredients.

“You’ve got measuring you are doing. You can talk about full and empty. You can talk about numerals and that correspondence – we need one of something, or we need two,” Barnes explains.

She also encourages parents to start a conversation by asking their toddlers questions.

“Taking the opportunity to talk about what will happen next. Ask, ‘What do you think is going to happen when we crack the egg or what’s going to happen when we put this batter in the oven,’” she said.

Mother Rita Morrill has seen her 3-year-old daughter Madelyn’s development soar as she involves her in everyday activities like grocery shopping and cooking.

“She loves looking around and just observing,” Morrill said. “She just gets excited when she is learning something new.”

She encourages other parents to slow down and take the time to recognize these small teaching moments.

“You can learn so much in the home just by doing things hands-on,” she said. “I just love that we can teach our daughter just by doing everyday activities.”

For more activity ideas and resources on how to help your child talk, read, and count, visit 5B45kids.com.

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Use everyday activities to teach your young children how to talk, read and count