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ESL forum > Techniques and methods in Language Teaching > English for toddlers    

English for toddlers

United States

English for toddlers
Hi everybody, I hope you are all doing well. I have a question about English for toddlers. Is there anybody who has experience in this field? I īm currently teaching a group of 3 year olds and it is already hard to fill a whole lesson with activities, so on my way back to work I was thinking how does it work with kids that are 0-3 years old, since you can īt really do a lot of activities with them (at least not the ones I know of ;)). I know you use a lot of songs, but they only fill maybe 3minutes of the lesson. So I īm really curious to learn how such a lesson would look like and how much time a lesson for the little ones would be. If you have any ideas, I would be more than happy to hear them :)


7 Jun 2010      


I īm astonished that someone would be brave enough to even try to teach a toddler a foreign language! Good luck!

7 Jun 2010     

Czech Republic

Check your PM please.

7 Jun 2010     

Lina Ladybird

First and foremost, don īt let them sit at a table!! I always sit on the floor with my 2- to 4-year old kids!
Secondly, I never do these lessons without the toddler īs mothers, because I cannot leave the other kids alone if one of them needs to go to the toilet and I simply haven īt got the time to help them wipe their noses and stuff like that. I get paid for teaching them English, not for changing their nappies! ;))))
Thirdly, no lesson should last longer than 45 minutes.
At the beginning of a lesson I always talk about a certain topic (e. g. food or animals). In order to make them remember certain words I usually give them a colouring sheet. At first, I let them colour the objects the way they want, but as soon as I have taught them some colours, I ask them to colour the apple green, the plum purple, the tiger orange, the elephant grey and so on.
After that I play a lot of different games with them. Dominoes and memory are the ones that work best at this age, I think.
Sometimes, I teach them a funny ryhme which involves a lot of moving. I say the rhyme a couple of times and at the same time I make some moves which they try to copy. They love that!! Moreover, they remember the rhyme very quickly and easily because of the movements which are involved!
Here īs an example:
1, 2,
buckle my shoe! (I pretend to buckle one of my shoes.)
3, 4,
knock at the door! (I knock on the floor.)
5, 6,
pick up sticks! (For this move I give each child some crayons which I put on the floor in front of them so that they can pick them up.)
7, 8,
lay them straight! (I put the crayons straight.)
9, 10,
a big, fat hen!!! (I shout the last part, jump up suddenly and pretend to be a big, fat hen by putting my hands in front of my chest and by moving my elbows up and down hectically at the same time. LOL)
Please, have a look at this thread, too: http://www.eslprintables.com/forum/topic.asp?id=20061
In this thread I posted something about games from Orchard Toys in the UK. From the games I mentioned there, these once have especially been designed for and are loved by toddlers: Insey Winsey Spider; Two by Two; Red Dog, Blue Dog and Dotty Dinosaurs.
Do you know a card game called "SNAP"? My very young ss LOVE to play that - in fact, they cannot get enough of it!!
I have even taught 2-year old children before!! Approve It does work as long as you prepare loads of different games for them!
Children at this age cannot concentrate on one activity for very long - no matter what kind of activity it is. After a few minutes they start to get bored, e. g. when you play memory games with them.
Most toddlers at the age of 2 years haven īt played memory before. From my experience, they have to get used to the fact that they are not allowed to turn over more than 2 cards when it is their turn, and they are not used to having to wait patiently for their next go. They think it takes ages when another kid has his/her turn. ;))
Would you mind letting us know about what you sent to Sara by PM? Your tips could be very, very helpful for other teachers in this community, too... Wink

7 Jun 2010     


Hi !
Kids aged 3 often love simple stories with repetitions. My twins ī favourite at this age was, and still is "the Gruffalo" the images really help focus their attention, and they love the repetitions. There is an official site for the story, and the book isn īt very expensive. Try it and I īm sure they īll love it !
Good Luck.

7 Jun 2010     

Olindalima ( F )

Have you got my previous pm, about  a completely different subject?
Just to check.

8 Jun 2010     

United States

Thanks everybody for all your advice, it is more than helpful. Do you have any experience with kids under the age of 2? I have read that some schools offer English to kids that are even just a few months or 1 year old (kids + mothers). I īm wondering how that works since those kids basically can īt even hold a pencil and just singing and dancing for one hour seems a bit too much.

Linda, I īm really sorry I didnt reply to you sooner, but I īm in the middle of moving and I can īt use my internet the way I wish since we are actually still waiting to get a connection. I īm using my laptop now. I īll send you a message as soon as I can ;) i didn īt forget you.


8 Jun 2010     

United States

Topolina, thanks a million for your detailed answer. The Orchard games I know from somewhere. I think I have read about them in context with Starchild English. Do you know about them by any chance?

8 Jun 2010     


Another great book is The Hungry Caterpillar.

Itīs a great one with the added benefit of being able to easily create other fun activities based on the story.  Have a look at this link for some ideas.

Hope it helps, but most of all -  Good luck!

13 Jun 2010