Math: Count everything
"We count everything at our house," says Alicia, mom of twin preschoolers. "We count steps, pancakes, crayons and chairs." It's a great teaching technique. Kids learned loads with repetition -- the more practice, the better.
Take the numbers game to the next step with simple math problems: If you eat three Cheerios, how many will you have left? You have one book and I have one book, so how many books do we have in all?
Spelling: Look for letters
"My daughter has known her letters for a long time," says Lindsay. "She loves lining her alphabet blocks in order, and she loves looking for the letters in her name in magazines and on store signs and menus. She's obsessed!"
Being on the constant lookout for letters and words is a great start for any future student. Build on your child's passion by keeping letters in the forefront: blocks in the family room, magnetic letters on the fridge, peel-and-stick letters for the windows.
Eventually, letters lead to words, sentences and reading!
Art: Put out the paint
"Our kitchen is filled with Play-Doh, markers, paper, stickers, glue, glitter," says Christine. "It looks a lot like a craft supply store -- except less orderly!" What could be more inspirational for a budding artist?
Easily accessible art supplies will help you support and encourage your preschooler's developing creativity. "Every night before I go to bed, I draw a new picture on my daughter's chalkboard. Running to see her art-surprise is the first thing she does in the morning," adds Christine.
Christine's idea of keeping supplies in the kitchen works well for her, since that's where she spends a lot of her day. "My daughter does art while I cook, clean and do bills." Pick up some baskets, totes or photo boxes, fill them with art supplies and place them wherever you want your child to work.
Music: Fill your home with song
"As far as my kids know, there is a song for every subject," says Janelle, whose kids sing when they're swinging, scootering or coloring. "I love that they repeat whatever I sing -- no matter how bad it is!"
Music can be soothing or stimulating. Setting teachings to song helps kids remember what they've learned. And music gets those creative juices flowing.
Play music in the house and car. Sing songs when you're out for a walk. Hum as you go about your housework and your child will imitate you while playing.