Simple toddler game teaches letters, numbers, turn-taking, fine motor skills and ... it's fun
Maya's come up with a lovely, simple game with her daughter:
I’ve been playing this game with my daughter for a while – she’s 27 months old now. You could play this a variety of ways and it teaches many skills all at the same time, as well as being fun (at least my daughter thinks so).
I put her giant drawing pad on the floor with some crayons and sit down with her. I then draw the alphabet or numbers, making them in outline form so we can color them in. When we played the game the other day, my goal was to teach her to take turns, so I picked up a crayon and said, “It’s Mama’s turn. I pick orange and I’m coloring number 15.” Then she’d say, “It’s Violet’s turn. I pick purple and I’m coloring number 8.” We play this game very informally. If she wants two turns, that’s fine. If she gets tired of the game, that’s fine. If she wants to change the “rules,” that’s fine. The important thing is to have fun and she really does with this game. We spent a good 30 minutes playing together this morning and then we hung it on the wall and she spent another 15 minutes talking about it after that.
Easel pads (from the office supply store) are great for this purpose (and for many others).