Baby L, Daddy B, and I went to our first Easter Egg Hunt this weekend at McCarren Park! It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and Baby L filled a shopping bag full of eggs. We put lots of them back for other kids to find, and still had a ton to take home.
Later that night, after Baby L went to bed, I emptied out all the eggs and cleaned them up so L could play with them in her play kitchen. As I popped open each egg and removed whatever candy or toys were inside it dawned on me that we could hide the eggs all over again in the house--why wait until Easter? What a fun game to play!
So that night I filled the eggs back up with stickers and hid them all over the house. Since L is only 1.5 years old, I hid them in plain sight. I didn't want her to lose interest after finding the first egg.
The next morning, Baby L found the first few "hidden" eggs immediately. It's easy to see why:
After she found the eggs on the stools, we started giving her clues to find the rest. "Look under the baby doll.... next to the wagon... on top of the coffee table..."
L totally understood that we were telling her generally where to look, but the prepositions-- under, over, in, on... those were tricky for her. We coached her with gestures, we pointed, we restated, we repeated and emphasized certain words. What great practice with grammar! said the teacher-voice inside my head. Oh just have fun...don't ruin it with grammar! said the non-teacher voice inside my head...as usual.
Either way, L loves our new game!
Teachers are constantly asking me for ideas for how to teach grammar. A really great resource for teachers of older children is The Power of Grammar, by Mary Ehrenworth and Vicki Vinton. You'll find lots of smart ways to teach grammar in a way that calls upon children's abilities to think creatively and meaningfully, rather than memorizing a bunch of grammar rules for a test, or filling out worksheets.