Teaching 2 to 3 year olds english, free songs, flashcards and more


Ideas for teaching 2 and 3-year-olds in your ESL classroom

Teaching 2 and 3-year-olds can be a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. However, many teachers worry about teaching this age group as it requires teachers to lớn rethink their teaching strategies và classroom management. It is actually much easier than you may think to teach little ones, và once you “crack the code”, you’ll probably enjoy teaching these classes more than any others.

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Here are some great tips khổng lồ get you started.


1. Understand their limitations and abilities

Don’t get discouraged that they can’t read or write & sometimes barely speak! There is plenty of time khổng lồ work on that boring stuff when they get older. 2s và 3s are able to vày a lot in class, and the cool thing is, you’ll see huge improvements each time you see them.

Understanding what they are able to do (and not do) is the first step in knowing how you can help them learn English:

They are extremely curious – they want lớn explore the world & learn new things.They are able khổng lồ remember things – they may recall events from the previous day & can remember as many as three objects that are presented visually.They can identify what’s missing from a picture or group of objects.They are able lớn follow simple instructions.They can identify simple primary colors.They are good at naming và labeling.They can draw lines, circles và squares with a pencil.They can ask many who, what, where, and why questions.They love to lớn imitate playmates & adults.They can speak in short sentences (4 lớn 6 words).They can say names và ages (usually up khổng lồ their own age) & use pronouns.They can match objects khổng lồ pictures.They have a vocabulary of around 300 words (in their first language).They can listen attentively lớn short stories.They can complete puzzles of a few pieces.They are able to describe actions in pictures.They can take turns in games.They can express affection và wide range of emotions.They can turn pages in book one at a time.They can build a tower of more than a few blocks.

… & much, much more. You’ll be surprised by your students’ abilities every time you see them!

2. Play, play, play

One of the hardest things khổng lồ get used khổng lồ as first-time teacher of toddlers is the concept of “not teaching”. At this age, kids learn though exploring the world around them và imitating people, và all of this is usually done through play. As such, the teacher should see him/herself as more of a playmate than a teacher.

Sit with your students và explore things, play games & sing songs together, have fun and laugh a lot. Your students won’t care that you are doing this in a strange new language. They will try to talk lớn you in their language and this is fine – answer back in English & focus on sharing nouns, verbs and adjectives from your own language.

3. Short activities

Toddlers have a short attention span and lose interest in activities very quickly. It’s not that your lesson activity is boring, it’s just that there are so many other fun and interesting things in their immediate environment that demand their attention! Basically, you are competing with everything else in the world for their attention, so changing activities frequently helps to lớn focus their little minds on what you are doing with them.

Make sure that each activity lasts no more than 5 to lớn 10 minutes. Therefore, plan for lots of activities và always have a few extra up your sleeve, just in case!

Your lesson doesn’t have lớn have 10-15 brand new activities – you can recycle activities from previous lessons, sings songs, read a story, play a game, play with toys or just jump around a bit. I always try khổng lồ ‘bookend’ calm activities with energy burning activities, to stop them getting restless.


4. Allow a parent to join their child the lesson

I always teach both toddler & one of their parents together in the class (usually mother but it can sometimes even be a grandparent!). Your students won’t suffer from separation anxiety and it will make your life as the teacher a whole lot easier. The parent will help with bad behavior and keep their child focused on the activities.

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Have the parent sit next khổng lồ their child (I use cushions on the floor) & take an active part in the lesson. They can help with coloring sheets, dancing to songs, playing games, và everything else in the lesson. They are also there to help out with any little problems & toilet emergencies.

You’ll also notice that as the parents know exactly what their child is learning in class, they’ll reinforce learning between lessons – & often teach more. I’ll often notice children coming lớn class and saying 5 or 6 màu sắc words when we only worked on three in the last class!

5. Use a glove puppet

Using a fun glove puppet each class (I use Cookie Monster) makes a huge difference in your toddler lessons. Shy students will open up more lớn a puppet and kids often get overwhelmed with excitement at the beginning of class to see their favorite puppet! They will think it is real (students sometimes ask me questions about the puppet’s daily routines, etc.) & believe it is their friend.

Start & end the lessons saying hello and goodbye to lớn the puppet and bring him out every now & then to ask students questions or lớn sing a song.

6. Only teach a few words each lesson

Try not lớn introduce more than three new words in one lesson. They will have a hard time remembering them.

Some teachers feel that they are not really teaching their students much, if all that they have covered is three new words, but you’ll be surprised at how much more the kids are taking in. Every time you talk (your classroom metalanguage) they take in some of what you say. I’m always amazed when students come out with phrases without being prompted (good job, well done, here, sit down, thank you, what’s this?, pass, give me, etc.) that they have picked up from me. Then there are the songs & stories that also địa chỉ cửa hàng to their lexicon.

You can use our lesson plans here at ESL KidStuff with your younger learners – simply teach the lesson plan over a series of lessons so they cover three new words at a time, and địa chỉ some of the extra activities explained in this article.

7. Sing lots of songs

Kids love singing good songs & doing all the gestures và dance moves. They are sponges for learning songs – many a time we revisit a tuy nhiên and I am having to lớn watch my students for the words because I have forgotten some of them!

Songs can be used khổng lồ introduce or reinforce new words (e.g. Let’s go khổng lồ the zoo for animals), khổng lồ start or over a section of the lesson (e.g. The hello song and The goodbye song), as an energy burner (e.g. Head, Shoulders Knees & Toes) or a calm down tuy nhiên (e.g. The rainbow song). Always đánh giá new songs & keep recycling them. You can also take requests – students love telling you what tuy vậy they want lớn sing!

We have 50 songs at ESL KidStuff that you can download and sing in class.

8. Use lots of visuals

Students really learn well when their attention is engaged visually. Make sure you have lots of flashcards (we have over 1,500 at ESL KidStuff), pictures from magazines, posters on the walls, & lots of toys và real objects (realia). Always pass objects around & play simple games, such as catch, as touching & interacting with the objects really helps them lớn learn.

9. Play lots of games

Toddlers can’t read or write, but they are master trò chơi players! Games can be really simple và shouldn’t be too competitive – make sure that everyone is a winner. Here are just a few ideas for simple & fun games:

Patting balloons lớn each other, or kicking the correct balloon (“kick the blue balloon”)Jumping over a rope laid on the ground to lớn pick up an objectTouching a flashcard from a set of flashcards laid out on the floorRetrieving objects and giving lớn the teacher (e.g. “Go and get me a crayon”)Playing “What’s missing” games – students close their eyes as the teacher removes an object or flashcard, then recall what is missing)Sitting in a circle and passing a ball aroundDoing action games (“Who can roar like a lion the best?”)


10. Praise all the time

Positive reinforcement is so important at this age. It doesn’t matter if a student got something wrong, the fact that they tried deserves a round of applause. If the kids enjoy their class, they will return next week because they want to lớn be there … và a side effect is that they will learn English!

When praising, use a variety of phrases (well done, good job, great, wonderful, amazing, fantastic, etc.), give out stickers, use high-fives, draw happy faces on worksheets, and smile a lot.