# Where & When Should I Start?

## “My child is 12-18 months, where and when should I start?”

I get asked this question a lot and although each child is different, here’s what I would suggest based on my experience…..

## Try a Matching Activity

• Match concrete objects – Use blocks, characters, stickers, animals, etc.
• Printable Matching Games – “Can you find this bear’s friend?” or “Can you find another bear that looks like this?”. It’s possible that the first time you say that, you will get a blank look. If that happens, match them yourself and talk the whole time about what you are thinking “Oh look here is this bear’s friend. They both have a star in the middle!”
It’s not necessary to say “Find the red one.” or “Which one matches?” at the beginning. Just use these vocabulary words in your conversations as you continue to play, you will be surprised at how fast they pick them up! Start with “Do you see another one that looks like this? You found it! You found the other red piece we needed! Great job!” or “You found it! These two match! Let’s find another one that matches. Do you see one that looks like this? You’re right, that is a green one. It matches.”  Eventually, as your child gains experience you will be able to say “Can you find another bear with a triangle in the middle? or “Find two that match.”

## Working with Colors

• Have a Color Hunt and keep those items in the bins to dump out and sort again.
• Sort, Sort, Sort – Sort anything you can find by color! Beads, candy, buttons, pom poms, cereal, crayons, blocks, etc. Start by just sorting 2 different colors and work from there.

## Working with Shapes

• Have a Shape Hunt (same concept as the color hunt)
• Make an outline puzzle out of shapes (cookie cutters, blocks, foam shapes, etc.)
• Sort, Sort, Sort!

## My child isn’t talking yet, should I wait?

My answer to this is NO, don’t wait. B was a late talker and we were still doing these activities together. I think children pick up and absorb so much just by listening and experiencing it.

## What if I don’t have a printer?

Cut images out of magazines or use things you already have around the house like blocks or playing cards.

## What do I do if my child doesn’t seem interested?

Depending on the age, maybe put it away and try it again later or try to involve your child’s favorite character or interests in some way. If your child loves Sesame Street, put color squares on Sesame Street characters and then match them. If your child is into soccer, print soccer balls and make “goals” of different colors. If your child is into Barbie, match the different colored shoes.
Here are more ideas on what to do if your child doesn’t seem interested.

## Other Tips:

• No matter where you start, always make it a game and have fun! If something is too hard, don’t worry (that has happened to me many times!). Just think aloud as you model it for your child, try it again, and if it is still too hard put it away and bring it out in a few weeks.
• Repetition! Kids love to do things over and over again so why not let them. They learn something new each time they try it.
• Talk about it! If you are working on identifying colors, point them out when you are in the car or at the store. “Oh look! This box of crackers is orange!” or “Hmmmm I’m looking for a red sign. Oh there it is.”
• Don’t worry if you don’t have time to do an activity every day! Some days we don’t do any activities at all and other days we might try 3 new ones. As your child becomes more comfortable doing an activity by themselves, set it out (or a few) to give them a chance to work on it independently! This will give you time to get some Mom Activities done!

Enrichment Class for Kids

Thursday 9th of August 2012

This is really a great tip. And the other ideas are magnificent. Is there a chance that at younger age they can start identifying shapes and able to match objects though? Like, let's say 12 months? And how do you prevent them from putting everything into their mouth when you try to let them match those objects up? I always got a problem with that.

Jazzy68

Thursday 1st of March 2012

i am in love with your blog...soooo much information! I cant stand it! My brain is overloading..i just hope i remember 1/2 this stuff! lol so creative,im totally not. Hola from Houston! ;-) a new fan.

shani

Tuesday 1st of November 2011

Thanks for the great ideas

Shaheen

joliluja

Tuesday 25th of October 2011

Love your blog! I do so much- it's on my blogroll! What a blessing you are!

https://joliluja.wordpress.com/

Little Mister's Mum

Monday 19th of September 2011

Thanks for your ideas! I know the ideas of where it start, but the HOW and WITH WHAT is where I get stuck! Call it a lack of imagination :)Love that people like yourself, who DO have great ideas and imagination, are so willing to share :)Thanks so much