Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old
for those of you who don’t know, i have a degree in elementary education and spent a year in the kindergarten classroom. when i was pregnant with my first baby, i brought down a lot of my classroom things that were perfectly organized in storage and dreamed of all that i would teach our little one. now that my oldest is two and ready for a little more formal instruction, i am really excited to tap into my teacher side and set up classroom at home. to be clear, she will definitely attend a formal preschool and go to public school, but i am going to give her a little jump start at home this summer and throughout the next year or two to get her ready. and as boxes show up daily on our doorstep to set up classroom at home, my husband is not only just as excited for us as i am, but he also knows that i am having a lot of fun using all of my past teacher resources as i plan out what summer learning for a 2 year old will look like for us.
many of you asked me to share more about how i will be teaching my little girl this summer and if you are looking to do some formal learning with your toddler this summer, here is what we will be doing and some tips for you for getting started. i am thrilled to write this post; teaching my little one is really fun for me and i am really excited for this summer. we just started our curriculum on monday and we are both enjoying this time together. but this smarty pants has already achieved half of our summer objectives in one week, so i might need to up my game!
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truth be told, i wasn’t going to start a curriculum until fall but my 2 year old is really ready now. and i am really ready too. with our 5 month old now baby girl sleeping through the night (well, with one night feeding) and taking great naps during the day, my 2 year old and i have been enjoying mama and me time in the mornings together. i love that we have an allotted amount of time together, one on one, and i want to dedicate that to a new learning routine that we can do together.
Our Summer Learning | Summer Learning For A 2 Year Old
Have A Routine
children thrive on routines. our little girl’s entire day is the same routine and it is remarkable what a good routine will do for behavior. she knows exactly what we are doing next all day long, down to when it is time to wash her hands and brush her teeth, and she really appreciates an organized routine because she knows what to expect and there are no surprises, and that is comfortable for children…especially for two year olds. when it comes to learning, the first thing i will do is create a routine. i am designating my littlests’ morning nap as time for my 2 year old and i to come together for formal learning. (of course, we are learning throughout the day, but this dedicated time will be for more focused learning). this can be as little as 20 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on the activity. remember, toddlers are still really little and cannot take long stretches of instruction so keeping it short and sweet will keep them engaged and having fun. i have also dedicated a little shelf and wall to be our little classroom area so everything can always be ready to go and we can spend more time learning and less time setting up/taking down.
Our Classroom Source List
rope baskets (similar ones here)
Have Learning Objectives
as you are getting ready to start your summer learning, think about what you would like to achieve with your little one by the end of summer. if you are unsure, you can always ask your child’s pediatrician about what their expectations are for your child’s age. (i have been using the “sprout” baby app on my phone since she was born, and it gives me an idea of what learning milestones should be met at certain ages). for us, we are currently working on mastering 3 year old learning objectives so our learning goals may be different than yours. make sure you base your goals on your child’s personal needs and learning style. i know that i need to set a little bit higher goals for our toddler because she tends to master things really quickly, so i want to set some harder goals for us to really work towards this summer and may need to add more goals throughout the summer as she achieves the original ones. truth be told, as soon as i wrote these objectives she started mastering them so i had to set new ones.
this summer, our 2 year old will be learning how to:
- say her name, when asked
- count to 5
- become familiar with written alphabet (we love these flashcards!)
- recognize patterns
- identify shapes
- identify colors
- identify the weather each day
- sort objects by color and/or type
remember, your toddler may or may not have the same learning objectives as my little girl. each child is different, so your child may need or want to learn different things. for us, our little one is showing signs that she is ready is do these tasks.
pictured : linen cork board, homemade calendar numbers
there are so many things your little one can learn, simply by having a morning calendar routine. we are going to start off each morning with turning over the day’s number, identifying the pattern, counting and identifying the day’s weather.
you can purchase a pocket calendar for real cheap to get you started. i personally decided to make my own, by purchasing a linen cork board and creating my own calendar numbers on my computer. (the bright blue pocket chart was just a little too vibrant for our pastel playroom) 🙂 remember, if you are creating your own that (1) your calendar numbers should be recognizable so choose a simple font and (2) make a pattern with your numbers so that your child can begin recognizing and predicting patterns. for june, our pattern will be lemons and popsicles. i will change the numbers each month and create a new pattern. for this first month, we will be doing an AB pattern and if she does well with it, we may progress to more complex patterns such as AAB or AABB in the following months. if you choose to make your own numbers, have fun and base them off the seasons! for july, we will be doing red and blue stars (another AB pattern).
Think of Field Trips
we will probably do most of our field trips on the weekend so my husband can join in the fun, but we will also go to the library each week for their story time. our library hosts a wonderful story time with a teacher who plays the guitar, reads a few books and then does a craft with the kids. i love that this allows my toddler some social time with other children and it’s a great learning opportunity for her to learn to take instruction from another adult, besides her parents. be sure to see if your local library offers something similar.
for our field trips, we will be incorporating the summer bucket list that we created for our family to accomplish this summer.
Don’t Forget To Simply Play
above all, remember to keep it simple and let your little one be…little! don’t forget to just play. whether it is building castles with blocks, sorting legos by color, playing dress up or building a train track, there are so many learning opportunities through simple play.
for us, we will do our morning calendar/weather, read a story, and do that day’s curriculum activity. then we will simply play. the power of play is so so important! some days we may only learn for 20 minutes and other days we may spend over an hour. learning is learning!
i hope this post helped you get an idea for how i am approaching learning and curriculum for a 2 year old this summer. remember, each child is different so make sure you design your learning plans around your own little one. and it’s okay to make adjustments throughout the summer! make sure you keep an eye out for what is working and what isn’t and change things up, if needed!