I just inquired recently with another mom that has a 2.5 year old, as to when her son started showing that he understood his letters, colors, numbers, etc. She had just been explaining in a blog post about how her son really knew his letters well! The age difference between my almost 1.5 year old (16 months and a couple weeks) and a 2.5 year old is significant, but it still made me think...
Caroline and I rarely just sit and learn letters, colors, numbers and shapes. She is ON THE GO at all times and we hardly get to do any "learning". Focused learning that is. I know that she learns from me as I talk to her all day. And I know that I ask her to get the "orange ball" on the floor, so she is learning colors on the go. Colors and shapes get discussed a lot. Letters and numbers feel like they get overlooked. Although, now that I think about it they probably get brought up more than I give myself credit for.
When we are reading books, I tend to stop on each page and have her find objects. Lately, I focus a lot of my attention on colors. I ask her where the red flower is. 70% of the time she answers correctly! Does that mean she knows what red is? Or is it a coincidence? Same with yellow, blue, etc. Or does she just know that object to be called the "red flower" and has memorized it so? No one knows!
So after all of my thinking... I decided that once a day I want to sit for at least 5 minutes and focus all of her attention on letters, numbers, colors or shapes, and have more dedicated learning times incorporated into our day. While she is old enough that all she wants to do is run around and explore, she is also old enough for some dedicated learning times like we used to do when she wasn't as mobile! Today we did just that, and I was SO surprised!
I got out her alphabet book and sang the ABCs with her. I did this twice and each time pointed to each of the letters. It had been forever since we'd done this. I then said "Caroline, can you find the letter M? M for Mama." She pointed right to it without hesitation. OH MY GOSH MY DAUGHTER IS A GENIUS!!!! LOL
I pulled out my video camera and asked her again. Again she pointed to the letter M!! I asked her to find A for apple. She found A! She pointed to B when I asked her to find D for Daddy. And she had no idea what C for Caroline was. So, while she doesn't know all 26 letters yet.... she seems to know 2 of them! I still can't believe it. You'd better believe we will be doing this every day now, because that was just too exciting.
The lesson, however, is that she knows those letters from me reading to her, talking to her, and explaining things to her. NOT from me reciting the alphabet and pointing to letters- because those moments have been lost on us lately. She learned from listening and observing our every day play and every day conversation.
So to all the mamas that think too much on occasion like I do... You are doing a great job even if you haven't seen the results yet. Just when you start to wonder... they'll do something like point out an M out of 26 letters and be able to repeat it over and over... and it won't be a coincidence!