I have a question for you... is there a method to the madness of what to teach a kid when? My child knows most of his animals and body parts and I'm trying to decide if there is something I should focus on teaching him next? Seems like colors, numbers or the alphabet should be next.
Nope. No method.
Its really not about "the stuff" at the end of the day. Its about opening up a world of learning. Its really about the process.
Sure - sing the abc's - teach them about color - help them with numbers. But, its so much more fun to turn it all into an adventure. We like to "jump" the abc's. I hold him and jump - every letter a separate jump, each letter gets its own voice (so no confusion with the l,m,n,o,p part). And use numbers to turn off the water in the shower by counting 1 through 10 and shouting blastoff in the end.
But, don't forget about these two important topics...
Emotion! Its so fun to make the faces - babies, toddlers, and little kids love it! And its so important to start attaching emotion to their world. Point out when they are happy, point out when they are scared, angry, silly.
Imagination! The best part of being a kid is that they do this so naturally. They will stir all sorts of concoctions for you to taste. Just help them stretch and develop this talent. When my then four year old was suddenly nervous to go to sleep - I taught him to turn the ceiling into his canvas. We would draw imaginary vehicles and skyscrapers and wacky robots. Then we could erase parts with a wave of our arms. We would paint a picture every night before I said goodnight - and I told him he could stay up as long as he wanted - drawing anything.
Sidenote: at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC they have headsets for kids to listen to - they feel so old carrying it around. And certain paintings have kids commentary. At this Marc Chagall painting the recorded docent asked the child to find an upside down house...it turned it into an awesome hide and seek type experience.
Painting: I and the Village by Marc Chagall