Letter, Number, and Shape Relay: A Lesson for Toddlers

Relay Lesson for Letters, Numbers, and Shapes     About two weeks ago, I decided my little girl (almost 2.5 years old) was probably ready for some targeted learning activities. She is really great with her letters (capital only), she is ok with her number up to 10 with 3 and 4 being omitted occasionally, and she doesn’t know her shapes. Sometimes we color and draw on the back sliding door with window markers and we go through these three items. However, I came up with another activity that surprisingly gave a benefit beyond that of my expectations.

Addie has quite a lot of energy (which I maintain they siphon from their parental units). I don’t have any flash cards but I wanted to concentrate on the first 7 letters of the alphabet (for the piano teacher in me) so that she would know them really well. However, she already does so this was just some great reinforcement so we made it a game.

I cut up some pieces of her butcher paper from her table and labeled them each with a letter. Addie helped me pick the color of each letter. After they were produced, we tookwpid-20130515_143747.jpg them into the next room and I randomly dropped them onto the floor, face up, so that she could see them while standing there. I took her back to the table in the other room and asked her to go get the “E”. She did. She brought it back, we had fun taping it up on the table side and she got the next letter I asked for. When then continued until all 7 letters where along her table edge, taped up, and in alphabetical order. She was very proud and made a point to show mom later that day. She was able to identify and speak all of them.


So this week, I decided to do some variations on this activity since she loved it so much. We have done numbers (1-10) and that went pretty well. The most difficult one was shapes because she doesn’t have much experience with them and I decided to make the activity a little more difficult.

I made 9 cards. Each had 1 shape of 3 shapes (square, triangle, circle) and then each had a different color (green, blue, and orange). She knows her colors really well but not her shapes. So I did an experiment to see if identifying the color would help her. It did not. She could only concentrate on one concept at a time. I would ask for a blue square and she’d bring the orange one. I would tell her to go back and bring the blue square in which she would bring back the blue triangle. She could only see a shape or a color but not both until the 3rd try in which she got it. This happened nearly ever attempt.


I noticed that this form of activity prevented me from helping her which I think was great. She had to rely on her own understanding and judgement to bring back the correct letter, number, or shape/color. When she got it right, we high-fived and made her table pretty with the decoration. When she got it wrong, I told her “nope, not that’s not __________” and made her identify it correctly, take it back, and get the correct one. She had fun and there has been an improvement in her remembering 3 and 4 and she has a greater grasp with identifying circles and triangles (we are still working on the squares ) 🙂

Any of you have any great toddler activities?

3 thoughts on “Letter, Number, and Shape Relay: A Lesson for Toddlers

  1. Great idea! I cant wait to try this with malachi! I am really curious how you taught addie her alphabet so fast did you just sing the song or did you have a different activity that helped her learn those?

    • Actually, her first instruction came from a Leap Frog calculator looking thing (computer while in the car) and some alphabet books. Then one day, she just started identifying letters and then we’ve been reinforcing it with books and games (like above).

      I quiz her every now and then or ask her to go find an “A” somwhere, or something “orange” and bring it to me. This helps me assess that she has the concept down and can judge the colors/letters herself.

      We are on shapes now and she knows square, triangle, and circle. When Malachi gets to the point in his development where he is absorbing everything….that is when you can do this type of stuff in game style.

  2. Pingback: A Creative and Tasty Way to Learn Colors and Other Things Part 1 | The Creative Dad At Home

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