To them making up silly words with alphabet blocks or muddling up numbers is simply fun.
But to their brains, these early experiments with letters and numbers are brilliant nourishment.
At a glance
- Alphabet blocks
- Number muddling
- Early experiments will help in the long run
It will be a while before your toddler can read, count and write their name, but it’s never too early to start their learning journey. The best way to do this is to keep it light, playful and fun: there’ll be all the time in the world for phonics and maths workbooks in the years to come.
And, anyway, when it comes to learning letters and putting words together, research shows that if the child can physically handle the letters rather than just see them on a page, they are more likely to remember them. That’s why foam or magnetic letters are such a great toy. Or try the ABC Spell! from Mega Bloks First Builders, chunky bricks, easy for little hands, that come with alphabet stickers.
Even if your toddler is too young to learn their letters, they will soon be able to recognise the beginning letter of their name, and take great delight in picking it out of the pile of blocks and showing you proudly. It’s the same with counting: numbers might not mean much to them yet, but if you count the stairs as you walk up together or say 1-2-3-up every time you lift your toddler out of their high chair, you’re laying the foundations for a solid understanding later on. Visually you can also help them recognise what each number is.
Again, they may not be able to work out where each number sits in order, but the more time you spend together doing this the more it will register in their little minds. The Mega Bloks First Builders 1-2-3 Learning Train is a great play and learn tool introducing your little ones to the numbers 0 to 9, and making learning to count fun by matching the numbers with their corresponding images.
All this early learning sparks new connections and establishes pathways in their brain that will be invaluable when it comes to more formal learning at school.
You can also see more about your toddler's development with our milestones chart.