A few weeks ago I did a little rearranging in the living room. Sorting through Abby's mess of toys in the corner, clearing out most of our games from the bookshelf (and storing them in the garage -- I'm not ready to give them up quite yet! I want to be a game playing family when the girls get older!). I kept a few games on one shelf for Abby, even though she's still a little young to play them for real (Chutes and Ladders, CandyLand, Connect Four, Mancala). But she's managed to find her own ways to play with them.
She pulled out CandyLand and started identifying the colors on the cards. An idea flashed through my mind so I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed a few pieces of construction paper (and one piece of scrapbook paper since there wasn't any purple in the construction paper package...). I spread them on the floor and we started sorting the colored cards and little people onto the pieces of paper.
Abby also happened to be munching on Fruit Loops (I know I know, sugary cereal = bad mom). Did you know there are 6 colors of Fruit Loops, just like there are 6 colors of cards in CandyLand? And those were the 6 pieces of construction paper I had?
Now we store those pieces of construction paper in the CandyLand box. Abby still doesn't get the concept of the actual game... But she does love colors. Yellow is her favorite. :)
It's amazing what simple, teachable things you can find in your own house!